The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced the launch of Stop the Waste, a global campaign to raise awareness about the huge amounts of edible food that is daily discarded—a habit that must be overcome in order to make real progress in eradicating global hunger.
As part of this campaign, WFP has enlisted top restaurateurs and celebrity chefs from around the globe to join the movement by making their own pledge to #StopTheWaste.
While there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, one-third of the 4 billion metric tons of food produced each year is lost or wasted, costing the global economy nearly $1 trillion annually. At the same time, war and unrest are forcing more people to flee their homes, making it difficult for millions of people to grow their own food or buy it at an affordable price.
A recent report by the World Resources Institute confirmed that halving the rate of food loss and waste is an important strategy that would contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and sustainably feeding the planet by 2050. WFP's goal is a world with zero hunger. Part of achieving that goal is preventing food loss. WFP does this by helping smallholder farmers through the provision of new technologies for storage and transportation that prevent crops from spoiling prematurely and by connecting them with markets.
"#StopTheWaste is a campaign that appeals to everyone along the chain from farm to fork," said Corinne Woods, chief marketing officer for the World Food Programme, in a statement. "Food waste is a global issue but everyone can play their part in building a sustainable solution. Whether you are a farmer in Nigeria losing your crops after harvest or a restaurant diner in New York wasting the leftovers from your meal, you really can help to #StoptheWaste."
In the U.S., award-winning chef Andrew Zimmern has joined the movement by creating his own recipe using food that would normally go to waste and has pledged to #StopTheWaste in hopes of inspiring his followers to do the same.
"Feeding those in need requires a dozen different action steps as part of a multipronged solution to reduce and hopefully eliminate food waste," said Zimmern, four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and teacher, in a statement. "This is a global problem at every level: from the farm, to the wholesaler, to the grocery store, to your house, and we can all do our part to help. Taking simple steps at home to reduce food waste is good for your wallet and the environment, and supporting organizations that rescue perfectly good landfill-bound produce is vital for feeding those in need."
The World Food Programme has also launched a 30-second animated video as part of the campaign. The animation aims to spotlight food waste and highlight simple solutions to prevent it by educating people on how to get involved.
Follow these simple steps to pledge #StopTheWaste:
- Search your fridge or pantry for a food item that is nearing its expiration date and safe to eat.
- Snap a selfie with your item (do not forget to eat it).
- Share your photo on social using #StopTheWaste and challenge three friends by tagging them in your post.
- Take your pledge one step further by sharing your food waste recipes or host a dinner party and encourage others to do the same.