Can shopping by recipes reduce food waste?

Nov 9, 2021

Erik Wallin

Every year, across the world, we waste 1.3 billion tonnes of food. In this age of rapidly increasing awareness about our impact on the planet, food waste is under the spotlight. So, what can we do to reduce it?

Understanding food waste

We waste food in many ways. Food lost in agriculture is one problem. It varies from country to country. According to the 2021 G20 Food Sustainability Index, loss ranges from 10.11% of all food produced in Saudi Arabia to 1.56% in Russia.

Food waste is also an issue in the hospitality sector. A Reconomy study found that restaurants account for 22% of the sector's food waste, pubs for 19% and hotels for 9%.

Supermarkets also play their part. Again, this varies by country. UK supermarkets, for example, account for just 2.9% of the country's total food waste. In Egypt, however, 20% of all supermarket produce is wasted due to storage issues.

Then there is household waste. The average UK household throws away 1.96kg of food daily. That equates to emitting 25 million tonnes of CO2e per year.

What can we do?

Everyone can help reduce food waste. Food sharing apps are taking off around the world. These see food that would otherwise be wasted being sold cheaply at the last minute by supermarkets, coffee shops and restaurants.

Recipe shopping is another tech-driven solution, as Erik Wallin, Co-founder of Northfork, explains:

"Recipe tech allows for recipe suggestions based on what's already in a shopper's basket. This means that leftover half-packets of things are built into the weekly meal plan. The result is that those buying groceries online can reduce the food their household is likely to waste every single week. So thinking about the meals that you can cook rather than the individual product will open up new possibilities. From that banana that's about to go brown or already has, make a cake or a smoothie! "

There are many other solutions. Wallin concludes:

"We have it in our power to reduce food waste hugely. Awareness is key to this, so let's raise our voices and work together."