Can Leftover Food be Used for Poverty Reduction?

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Tons of food go down the drain (or the garbage can) every year worldwide. It is not only the primary source of poverty for one country. It is an affliction that all countries suffer from. The government or NGO authorities often present the solution of the redistribution of leftover food.

However, is it really a viable solution? Redistributing leftover food can allow for a reduction of wastage and a reduction of food shortage for people suffering from hunger. However, it doesn’t really get to the root of the food shortage crisis.

So what’s the solution? Maybe we’re asking the wrong questions.

Doesn’t Address the Problem

The primary reason leftover food can’t be used for poverty reduction is that this solution can only work for some time. In simple words, the “solution” doesn’t address the main problem. Poverty is not directly caused by people failing to recycle food.

Giving leftover food to people in poverty-stricken areas only works for a while. Moreover, since they are people with equal rights as others, serving them with leftovers is against their basic human rights.

Food charity organizations can provide food to people who need it. However, they encourage the government or related organizations to take a deeper look at the root causes, which are usually related to unemployment or income.

Another issue stems from nongovernmental organizations that fail to upkeep the nutritional value of the food they provide. This is through no fault of their own, as they have a surplus of mouths to feed. All they can depend on is food from leftovers or nearly expired items at the supermarket and donations.

Systemic Failure Left Unaddressed

Leftover food cannot treat poverty since poverty-stricken households need governmental support in the longer run. They need better employment opportunities with minimum wage in place. The existence of NGOs is a reflection of the failure of society and us as human beings.

People who use food stamps are often social pariahs and are secluded from society. They are looked down upon at every supermarket and are taunted for the simple reason that they cannot afford their food.

Without the government setting measures for the proper redistribution of income, a mere redistribution of already consumed food cannot eradicate poverty. This kind of food is limited, low in nutritional value, and inconsistent in supply.

Poverty reduction is possible. It is not an unattainable goal. Much research has been conducted that points toward the steps we can take as a community to eradicate poverty. With the increase in the wage gap, more and more people are deprived of quality food. For every person who goes to bed with a full stomach, countless more go to sleep hungry.

These people are often left to scavenge in trash cans for leftover fast food, which provides less nutritional value and adds to the problem of obesity.

Person Thinking While Having Breakfast

The Solutions

Is there any way to use the food we store in our households for poverty reduction? Yes, there is! Don’t produce leftover food!

Instead of giving away your leftover food to people, why not buy only as much as you would consume and take care to consume it entirely? Throwing out bread crusts or peels used in desserts or soups can contribute to poverty.

Instead of looking for ways to serve poverty-stricken households with leftover food, why not serve them with fully cooked meals from the raw food that is leftover in your household?

A reduction in food waste reduces food purchases, leading to a surplus redistributing to food banks or NGOs.

Moreover, the government can also help reduce hunger. They can redirect surplus food to poverty reduction instead of retailers that will use it for profit. Surpluses can play a big role in poverty reduction.

However, long-term solutions to the food shortage and hunger crisis are implementing macroeconomic policies and establishing institutions that increase employment. This can come through investment in infrastructure or injecting money into the economy.

How Can You Reduce Food Wastage?

If you are looking to reduce food wastage in your household today, you can apply just a few tips to encourage healthy food consumption habits. This includes everything that goes through your mind when buying groceries at the superstore.

  1. Ensure you have a proper plan and don’t shop blindly. Only buy the things you really need and will consume.
  2. Do not avoid fruits and vegetables just a few days old. The aged fruits and vegetables will be wasted if you go over them.
  3. Make sure to buy food that is nearing expiration. Chances are you will end up consuming it before it expires. This will prevent it from being wasted in the future.
  4. Freeze your food, so it lasts longer, which will help you avoid throwing excess food out.
  5. Donate your leftovers as a last resort.

To Sum it Up

Food waste doesn’t only affect people who live in poverty-stricken areas. It can also contribute to environmental deterioration, which can come back to bite us. Attempting to reduce food waste can help create an opportunity for other people to go to bed with their stomach’s full. It can also lead to a healthier environment.

Consuming just as much as farmers produce can save a lot of resources and money. Staying alert during our shopping routines will lead to reduced waste, ultimately reducing poverty. ‘Live and let live’ should be what we strive for.