Five myths on food waste

Many of us feel anxious about food waste. Let’s have a look at five various claims and beliefs about food waste to see which of them are true.

1. Food waste at home is only a small part of overall food waste.

Untrue. In fact, homes make up a majority of food waste. For example in Finland, we generate roughly 400-500 million kilos of food waste every year, 30% of which comes from homes. Finnish households throw away roughly 120-160 million kilos of food per year. Per person, this waste adds up to an average of 20-25 kilos of food. Households mostly throw away bread, fruit and vegetables as well as dairy prod-ucts.

2. It’s hard to prevent food waste in today’s hustle.

Untrue. It’s easy to prevent food waste in your everyday life with a few simple tips:

  1. Grate your cheese leftovers and freeze it: this lets you have grated cheese whenever you need it.
  2. Use yesterday’s leftovers as a base for dinner tomorrow. For instance, leftover tomato soup is easy to use as a base for a Bolognese sauce.
  3. Keep the products that spoil fastest at the front of your fridge, at eye level, so you can see them whenever you open it.
  4. Take a photo of your fridge before you go shopping for groceries so you can check what you have while at the store.
  5. Don’t go shopping for groceries hungry to avoid impulse buying.

3. Packaging matters a lot in preventing food waste.

True. Packaging is intended to protect food from spoiling. Most of the time, we think that avoiding cer-tain packaging material is an ecological choice. However, this is untrue. A good package can protect food from spoiling. For instance, plastic is still a fine packaging material for protecting products that spoil easily. In addition, packaging material has a smaller environmental impact than food waste.

Many wonder why, for example, milk and yoghurt cartons have plastic caps. The caps keep the contents fresh for as long as possible; the caps’ plastic doesn’t breathe, so it’s better protection than a cardboard closure.

4. Food waste has a significant environmental impact.

True. Studies show that up to a third of all human environmental load is made of food, and food waste has a massive carbon footprint. Finnish households generate up to 120-160 million kilos of food waste per year, which is the equivalent of ca. 100,000 cars in carbon dioxide emissions.

Food waste is a serious issue, as food production has a carbon footprint no matter if it’s eaten or not. When food is thrown away, the emissions that were generated were thus generated unnecessarily.

5. Food past the best before date is spoiled.

Untrue. The best before date refers to the time up until which the product will at least retain its typical quality. Products past the best before date are often edible: if it smells, looks and tastes normal, it most likely is edible. For instance, soured milk products, canned foods and eggs often keep for much longer than the best before date.

A stated expiration date, however, should be followed: it’s the date the product should be used by. Af-ter the expiration date has passed, the product may not be sold and we can no longer verify if it’s usa-ble.

Sources: Luke and Hävikkiviikko

Climate change is the global challenge of our era, with an effect on people as well. Through our own actions, however, we can help to make things better. We are aware of the environmental impacts of our operations, and we want to be part of the solution. Our goal is not just to reduce milk’s carbon footprint, it’s to cut it completely by 2035.