Food waste is down due to pandemic eating and cooking

Coronavirus safety measures have drastically changed the way most of the world shops, cooks, and eats food. Not only are people making more food at home, they are also embarking on baking adventures and have even created a shortage of home canning supplies. One change that has been a positive one is that people are wasting less food than before.

In the US, households accounted for 43% of food waste prior to the pandemic. But as lockdowns continue in some places and people are wary of going out even when restrictions are lifted, they are still cooking and eating at home – and in the process, being more conscientious about food waste. Perhaps this is because store shelves were devoid of pasta for weeks on end and they worry about running short of ingredients, or maybe it is because they are tightening their belts in a slowing economy.

The phenomenon is not limited to the US. A British nonprofit surveyed UK residents and discovered “that more people were deploying new, less wasteful food management practices, including making meals from random ingredients.” It is like a ‘Chopped’ cook-along. If these habits continue, we could make a dent in the significant proportion of food that is thrown out uneaten every year. Whether this shift in consumption is temporary or will end once people are able to resume normal dining habits is a question only time will tell.

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