Why is Food Waste such an issue for Household Budgets? | MoneyStrands

Guest post by Justin Fox. 

As individuals, most of us try to follow a budget regardless of how much money we earn. We spend money on everyday essentials, such as food, shelter and clothing, and save for larger luxuries, such as TVs, computers, or even holidays. Whether you are supporting just yourself or your entire family, the cost of daily necessities often eats away at a large part of our budgets, often leaving very little at the end of the month for other purchases. Around the world, it is suggested that the one area where we could all cut back on spending is food purchasing.

The Food Waste Issue


Approximately every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food ends up as food waste. That is approximately one-third of all the food that is produced globally and just a quarter of this could in fact feed the entirety of the world’s starving population. As we all know, food purchasing is one of the largest components of an individual’s or household’s budget.

In the US alone, it is estimated that over the past few decades, 20 percent of those who are in the lowest tax bracket spend between 28.8% to 42.6% of their income before tax on food. This is obviously a significant percentage that doesn’t leave much room for other acquisitions, and has led to too many people across the nation living hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck. Regardless of income, it is clear to see there is an obvious opportunity to save money when it comes to food shopping. Not only will this benefit individuals’ and households’ financially, but will save the environment in terms of the quantity of rubbish that is being generated.


Change What You Buy


The easiest thing you can do is to buy less food, and this can easily be achieved without making significant changes to your lifestyle. Buying locally grown fruit and vegetable, for instance, is another option. There are plenty of farmer’s markets and stands throughout the country, where you can buy fresh and local produce without the mark-ups associated without supermarket transportation fees. This option is also more eco-friendly, as it cuts back on ‘food miles’-the distance food has to come from the farmer to your plate.

Another thing you can do is buy food similar in taste and texture but with a longer expiry date. Although they may cost slightly more, over the long run you will save money as you will be making fewer purchases over time. You could also change your eating habits, not only to help your finances but to improve your health. One way to do this is to reduce your meat intake over the course of a week, as we have seen with the popular Meatless Monday trend. There are also many meat-free alternatives available on the market, including vegan and Quorn dishes, all of which provide the nutritional requirements to maintain your health. Experimenting with new types of food can be fun and you may end up enjoying something you otherwise would not have thought of eating.


Grow Your Own


Alternatively, you can grow some of your own ingredients– maintaining a small patch or plot to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. This is becoming increasingly popular due to its low-cost and low-maintenance appeal. Composting goes hand-in-hand with this. Again, this is relatively easy and affordable to do – composting involves taking your food waste, breaking it down and converting it into nutrients that can be used as fertiliser.

This puts your food waste into practical use and best of all is chemical-free. Take a step back and look at the amount of food you are throwing away on a daily or weekly basis. Then associate that waste with its cost to identify how much money you are throwing away. It may be shocking but it’s the catalyst for change you need to reduce your weekly grocery spend. Changing your shopping habits will require a few adjustments at first and may take some time getting used to, but once in the swing of things, you will be happy you did, not just for your bank account but also for the environment.




Contributor Bio

Justin Fox is writing on behalf of Farm Machinery Locator.



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