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Biting off more than we can chew

Updated: 2016-06-16 07:50
By Xu Wei (China Daily)

Cutting wastage

Fan said that while the Clean Your Plate campaign is laudable, more needs to be done to curb the problem, and it's important to change people's behavior and culture regarding food waste at the dining table. "But more important, consumers should be made aware of the best practices in safe storage, package dating, and households, as well as the societal benefits of reducing food wastage," he said.

"China can tackle the challenge by investing in preservation technologies and infrastructure, a change in government policies and the promotion of wider consumer knowledge about food wastage," he said.

Moreover, increased investment in production technology, infrastructure and post-harvest handling should also reduce post-yield losses, he added.

Feng, from the cuisine association, said restaurants can cut food wastage by providing more local produce and less "out-of-season" food.

"In my opinion, that would be a good way to cut carbon emissions and help the environment," he said.

Cheng, the professor, said the catering industry should establish standards that would allow restaurants to serve dishes of different sizes to give customers a wider range of options, he said. "Consumers should be informed about the amount of food in each dish on the menu. In many cases, people order a dish only to find that it's far beyond their consumption capacity," he said.

The authorities should also penalize restaurants to force them to curb wasteful behavior, such as charging them for wasting food cooked in house and also charging a fee for disposing of the waste.

"We found there is no motivation for some restaurants to even remind consumers that they have probably ordered too much. After all, the restaurants are trying to make a profit from their consumers," Cheng said.

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