Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


UC researcher looking at food consumption and wastage

UC researcher looking at food consumption and wastage

September 27, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) anthropologist has been investigating the cultural economics of commercial food waste and Dumpster-diving.

Dr David Boarder Giles has worked with Dumpster-divers and the food recovery group Food Not Bombs in a bid to reduce waste and hunger in Seattle, Washington, and several other cities.

Up to a third of the food produced globally is wasted, he says, and most of this waste occurs in industrialised nations. In the United States, for example, over a quarter of all the food produced is discarded before it has spoiled.

``I've already been in touch with Food Not Bombs members, Dumpster-divers and other food activists in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, who seem to be describing much the same situation as I found in Seattle in terms of waste. I'll be doing more research about this in the coming months,” he says.

Most waste is produced by consumers, whose rate of food waste has increased progressively over the last three decades. But, in addition, a significant amount is wasted by retailers.

This is not because there is no market for the food. Almost 15 percent of American households have inadequate access to food. Rather, Dr Giles’ research has found that the market economy is based on significant inefficiency and waste.

``My work has investigated cultural factors that determine the economic value of things—especially food,’’ he says.

``Consumers often relate to food primarily not as a resource but as a commodity. Commercial dumpsters are full of food which is still perfectly edible, but which cannot be sold for a set price: cartons containing eleven perfect eggs and one cracked one; day-old loaves of bread; slightly bruised fruit; pre-packaged items that are too close to their best-by date.

``Consumers often purchase groceries and other goods based on aesthetics rather than nutrition or taste. Sell-by dates contribute to a significant amount of food waste: while these dates are usually very conservative estimates, customers often lack the specialised skills and knowledge used by previous generations to judge the quality and safety of their food themselves, and so come to rely on these dates.

``Retailers often opt to turn over their shelves more quickly, rather than to sell old stock at a discount. To the extent that customers are willing to pay a significant premium for newer, more expensive goods, it may often be more profitable to simply throw older goods away than to minimise waste.

``Dumpster-divers are recovering commercial food waste and redistributing it. These efforts vary widely, with formal charities often obliged to redistribute the waste in places that don’t disrupt local commercial interests, keeping hungry people and wasted food segregated from the mainstream economic activity which produces the waste in the first place,’’ Dr Giles says.


Dr David Giles

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Cyclists Net First NZ Gold

New Zealand won a gold meal and two bronzes on the first day of the Commonwealth Games. There was joy and heartbreak in an incredibly full day of sport. Here's how the New Zealanders fared. More>>

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Electric Sheep: Light Nelson Exceeds All Expectations

Light Nelson exceeded all expectations drawing over 40,000 people over two nights to the Queens Gardens and surrounds. The event, with over 40 installations from local and national artists, is in its second year, and organisers were hoping they’d top last year’s crowd of 16,000. More>>

MacGyver: Richard Dean Anderson To Attend Armageddon This October

New Zealand’s biggest pulp-culture event, the Armageddon Expo is proud to announce the world’s most recognised DIY action hero will be attending the Auckland event at the ASB Showgrounds from October 24th to 27th. More>>

ALSO:

Barbershop Gold: Māori Party Singing Praises Of The Musical Island Boys

The Maori Party has congratulated four young men on a mission, who in 2002 took up barbershop singing at Tawa College, and tonight took out the Gold Medal in the 2014 International Barbershop Harmony Society competitions in Las Vegas. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news