Without a doubt, the right “not to be hungry” is one of the most important and basic human rights. However, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 795 million people out of 7.3 billion people are not guaranteed this basic right, while more than 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown out without being used. With growing numbers of waste, reducing food waste has become a matter of international urgency.
One of the most developed countries, the United States, ranks high in terms of food waste rates. The quantity of food waste, which was 35 million tons in 2012, ballooned to 60 million tons in just four years. Despite this tragic phenomenon, many people seem to be unaware of this issue at all. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40% of food in the United States is never eaten while one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table. Considering there is enough food manufactured every year to feed the entire population, producing more food would not be the most efficient or even pragmatic solution to this problem. In fact, it is distribution of food that needs to be reformed.
Surprisingly, imperfect foods, which have been rejected by people for a long period of time, may be the key to success. According to research done by National Geographic, about one-fifth of all fruit and vegetables are consigned to the dump because they do not conform to the industry “standard of perfection.” Reflecting the flaws of lookism society nowadays, thousands of products are thrown away not because they would taste bad or lack nutritional benefits, but simply because they look ugly.
In an interview with JSR, dietitian Helen Yoon commented, “Fine fruits and vegetables are thrown away just because they are shorter, thicker, or more dented. These products have the same taste and nutrition, so it would be very useful if they are used.”
Like Helen said, rather than throwing these foods away, it would be more efficient to distribute them to those in need. One successful example of this innovative approach takes place in Nairobi where five tons of less attractive green beans, broccoli, and peas have been used to provide free lunch for over 2,200 children in four months. Imagine how 40% of 60 million tons, that is, 24 million tons of unused foods, would save people in America; it is socially and environmentally healthful.
In today’s society, which has a strong bias towards physically beautiful things, this transformation of misshapen foods proves their importance. Nelson Mandela once said, “Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.” Hoping the right “not to be hungry” is granted to every individual on earth one day, implementing this idea of redistributing food as well as continuous awareness and interest seems to be the first step of the path