There’s no denying that COVID-19 has had a significant effect on many aspects of our lives. No large gatherings, social distancing requirements, and shortages of toilet paper to name a few. However, as we return to “normal” life, it’s important to also consider the ways the pandemic impacted our food system.
Food waste is not a new issue-you can learn more about it in one of our recent blog posts. Around 40% of the food we grow is never eaten, but the past year has resulted in a drastic increase in food waste. As restaurants, schools, and hotels closed, farmers and food producers were left with an abundance of food and no place to send it. This led to the disposal of millions of pounds of food including milk, eggs, and vegetables. Food producers were forced to destroy fresh foods simply because they could not sell it.
In addition to food waste, COVID-19 significantly affected people’s food purchasing and consumption patterns. Although retailers and grocery stores saw a spike in food sales after restaurants were forced to close, the increases were not enough to make up for all of the perishable food that was intended for schools and businesses.
Attempts to Save
During the peak of the pandemic, many farmers and food producers began donating their surplus food to food banks, which were overwhelmed with demand, but these food banks were lacking space to absorb large quantities of perishable foods. Even with concerted efforts to keep food from going to waste, there simply wasn’t anywhere to put it.
The real issue when it comes to the increase in food waste within the past year is the detrimental effect it has on the environment. Mountains of produce have been created, and as the food decays, it releases an excess of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. COVID-19 and the food waste problem is a huge threat to our environment and is actively contributing to global warming.
Our Dedication to Food Waste Reduction
Natural Choice Foods continues to benefit the food system by buying and selling quality overstock food and selling them into secondary outlets. In an interview with WXMI Fox17, we were able to discuss our action plan and its importance. We act as a channel to reduce food waste, making it easy for producers and manufacturers, all while pursuing the big picture and taking steps to save the environment.