About 30% of global production is exposed to food;

That is, the equivalent of about 1.3 billion tons of food, per year, before it reaches the consumer's table.

This is happening at a time when 821 million people worldwide suffer from food shortages and persistent hunger, according to WHO data on the state of nutrition and security in the world.

But with the continuing repercussions of the Corona pandemic, more than 100 million people have been hungry, according to the United Nations.

Hunger rates are on the rise, paralleled by an increase in food waste after it reaches the consumer, and this increase increases in some seasons and food-related occasions, such as the blessed month of Ramadan.

Shopping habits in wholesale stores contribute to an increase in the amount of food wasted (German News Agency)

The generosity of Ramadan wasted

If food waste is a major crisis throughout the year, then huge amounts of food waste increase dramatically during the month of Ramadan, as food consumption and waste increases, as about one-fifth of the food purchased during Ramadan finds its way to garbage bins or landfills.

According to Ecomena, the city of Makkah witnessed the generation of 5,000 tons of food waste during the first three days of Ramadan in 2014.

In the United Arab Emirates during the month of Ramadan, about 500 tons of food is wasted, while in Bahrain, the production of food waste exceeds 400 tons per day in the same month.

The modest economic situation in some countries does not prevent waste, as more than 270,000 tons of food are thrown into garbage bins during the month of Ramadan in Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan.

Why is food wasted?

The causes of food waste are many and different around the world, and the result is that half of the food produced globally is converted into garbage, according to an analysis by the British Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), which cited a number of reasons, including:

  • Poor storage.

  • Strict adherence to the expiry date.

  • Wholesale sale offers.

  • Poor consumption habits, which push the figure over the value.

As the repercussions of the Corona pandemic continue, more than 100 million people have been added to the number of hungry (Getty Images)

Food technology

Wasting food threatens the stability of the resource-limited ecosystem in which people live, as well as the stability of societies by increasing the number of hungry people;

What led to the emergence of initiatives to confront this phenomenon in most countries, and some governments solidarity with social movements, in order to directly intervene to reduce the extravagance of food, whether through initiatives and awareness or the enactment of laws and penalties.

Food banks and charities spread to collect leftovers from restaurants, institutions, or even individuals, and redistribute them.

And because the "consumer" is the determining factor in the success of these initiatives, those in charge of them are keen to educate consumers about the importance and methods of rationalizing consumption, such as not buying in large quantities and freezing leftovers immediately.

During that holy month, and with the amount of food waste expected, a new method can be followed to reduce waste through modern technology and applications such as:

MyFoodways The app helps you use and recycle food scraps in an individual's refrigerator to create a new recipe.

All that the consumer has to do is inform the app about the ingredients and random residues in the refrigerator, and the app sends it a special prescription based on the data;

This allows the food waste to be exploited without being wasted.

Lighter is a smart meal planning technology that includes a number of applications that help with shopping and making recipes for individual and family meals, as well as planning special events, vacations or leftovers.

Olio is a free app that connects neighbors with each other to report and share food surplus. Users upload a picture and description of the food, and then people in the neighborhood can claim the food before it is wasted.

Olio is the largest food-sharing network in the world with over 450,000 users.

And also suggest foods that suit each person separately, as well as avoid preparing foods with which you suffer from allergies.

Simpler ways

Besides smart applications to stop food waste, some traditional methods can be resorted to, which may be very effective in avoiding food waste in general and during the month of Ramadan in particular:

  • Avoid buying in one go from large markets, do not go shopping without a list to fix needs and try to stick to them.

  • Avoid buying more food than you need, and make frequent trips to the grocery store every few days instead of taking a wholesale shopping trip once a week.

  • To store food properly, separate foods and know what needs to be at room temperature, such as potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, onions, and what needs to be refrigerated.

  • When purchasing fresh products such as meat to be eaten in the evening of the same day or the next day, there is no point in buying a product whose consumption date is far away.

  • Do not reject vegetables or fruits that have small defects or are ugly, as they are also good and can be eaten.

  • Avoid food spoilage by keeping your refrigerator organized so you can clearly see foods and know when to buy them.

  • When cooking food at home, and if you are sure that you will not be able to eat the leftovers the next day, you must freeze them immediately, and you can also make a new dish using the leftovers.

  • Dates of consumption should not be mixed, you can use biscuits and some other foods even after the specified date expires.

  • When organizing a party, try to give leftovers to a charity.