I had the pleasure yesterday of participating in a ‘roundtable’, hosted by Unilever. (Funny phrase, ‘roundtable’: up there with ‘seminar’ and ‘symposium’ and ‘colloquium’; like we’re embarrassed to say ‘gathering for a bit of a chat’.) Subject of discussion: food waste. In the mix: Natan Doron and the Fabian Society, responsible recently for “Waste Not, Want Not”; my good friend Mike Tuffrey, of Corporate Citizenship, cheerfully facilitating; and a tableful of stakeholders, each holding their very own stake, and representing various NGOs, retailers, industry and government bodies and think tanks.
- UK citizens are in a big mess with food because we live in an age of superabundance, shaped in and by the interests of mega-corporations. It is important, for the purposes of organised capital, that we buy more than we really need, and that is how it is, so many of us are no markedly fatter than we need to be and most of us throw away quite frightening amounts of perfectly edible food
- Second, we have been progressively de-skilled for a period of more than forty years, so that great numbers of us no longer know how to shop with guile, nor to cook with wit. Or cook at all, in fact. Most people, I asserted (and, if I had to, I could find evidence in support of at least ‘lots of people’), would be simply perplexed at the idea of combining half a jar of unfinished sauce with some leftover chicken and vegetables in order to make this evening’s support. Just throw it away and open a new packet: much easier.