Despite strong government commitment to reduce food waste, Norwegians are still throwing enormous amounts of food. Annually, 102 pounds (46.3 kg) edible food goes into each Norwegian household garbage can.
Photo: Norwegian grocery shops are throwing vast amounts of edible food. This photo is taken outside a grocery shop in Mid-Norway, June 2014. The image shows several pounds of cheese – which after closer inspection has not yet expired.
In total 231,000 tons of food worth nearly two billion dollars is tossed every year, and an average family can annually save as much as 1600 dollars by reducing their food waste.
A recently published survey by Ostfold Research Co and ForMat shows grim results. Mostly fruits, vegetables and milk are discarded, and the results are discouraging:
– 22 percent of consumers report that they have thrown fruit and vegetables during the last week – an increase of around 30 percent compared with last year.
– One in four said they threw milk or cream – an increase of 27.7 percent.
– 22 percent has thrown fresh scraps. This figure is stable with a slight decrease of 4.3 percent.
– Every fifth grocery bag with food ends in the trash, and, according to Matvett, without even touching the dining table.
– Every day, 190,000 bread ends up in Norwegian dustbins. In average, a family of four throws one whole bread every week, all year round.
– What one person throws in Norway can feed one person in a poor country for a whole year!
– One-third of all the food produced in the world is thrown.
Much of the food is thrown simply because of the expiry date – 60 percent of consumers cite this as the main reason why they throw food.
Although most products in Norway are marked with a “Best before” date, and are fully edible long after they expire, date is the main reason why the products are thrown.
At the same time, the study also shows some signs of improvement. The proportion who say they throw bread and bakery products has decreased. As have the percentage who says they have thrown table scraps, although this should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.
These are the most frequently tossed food products:
* Fruits and vegetables: 24.9 pounds (11.31 kg) / per capita per year
* Pot and dinner residues: 22.6 pounds (10.25 kg) / per capita per year
* Bread: 20.5 pounds (9.28 kg) / per capita per year
* Meat and fish: 8 pounds (3.65 kg) / per capita per year
* Other baking products: 7.8 pounds (3.52 kg) / per capita per year
* Dairy products: 6.2 pounds (2.82 kg) / per capita per year
Text and photo by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews