Food waste 超市各種促銷手段導致食品浪費嚴重

Vocabulary: waste 詞匯: 浪費

Image caption Gone off! This food once tasted good but it wasn't eaten in time

Are you guilty of throwing away food? Many of us end up binning unwanted, uneaten or out- of-date food while millions of people in the world starve.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation estimates that 33 per cent of food produced is chucked away. This fills up landfill sites and creates greenhouse gases.

Part of the problem seems to lie with the supermarkets that encourage us to buy more. They offer promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) that tempt us to stock up on food that we'll never be able to consume. In Europe alone, people throw away 100 million tonnes of food every year.

But the problem isn't just us throwing away leftovers in the fridge or cupboard. Although we all love the convenience, price and choice of food that supermarkets offer, a lot of food is discarded before we even see it. Some stores reject fruit and vegetables because they're the wrong size or shape. And shoppers are equally to blame because they demand that items like these look perfect.

BBC reporter, Caroline Hepker, looked into the problem in the USA and said "Food waste is a huge issue in America. Forty per cent of all food goes uneaten and it's a problem that starts long before you get to the dining room table."

Another issue is the 'sell-by' and 'use-by' dates printed on food packaging. This confuses shoppers, including me. Anything older than a 'sell-by' date makes us think it is old and the food has gone off. But, in fact, this is just the date until which supermarkets can guarantee its freshness.

Meanwhile, in some parts of the world, people are struggling to buy even the most basic food. A report by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation found that there is enough food for everyone - just a lot of inefficiency. So what can be done?

Apps and websites that distribute excess food are becoming more popular. And food banks are being set up too. These are charitable organisations people donate food to. It's then distributed to those who have difficulty buying their own food.

Perhaps the best idea is that we all think twice before we fill our baskets up with too many groceries and we put pressure on supermarkets to change some of their wasteful practices. How much food do you waste?