25% Spike in Food Waste
At no other time of year do consumers throw away so much food. End consumers are responsible for over 40% of all food waste in industrial countries. During the holiday season this number spikes. It is estimated that we throw away an additional 25% of our food during and after Christmas. All that extra food we buy for Christmas drifts directly to the trash.
But Christmas is a time of charity, of compassion. Many of us donate money to the less privileged of this world. Half of all financial donations to charitable institutions are made between the end of November and the New Year. We might better help the poor of this world, however, by ensuring that there are less poor in this world. We can do that by ensuring stable grain prices so that people with low incomes can continue to afford their daily bread. The more that food is being thrown away, the more food is being produced and purchased. This drives up global food prices. Of course additional factors, like commodities speculation and ethanol production, play a role in increasing grain prices. But avoiding food waste is an area where each of us can contribute to making the global situation better.
Stabilizing Global Food Prices
Christmas will soon be over this year, but we can still make use of the extra food we purchased before the holidays began by eating it instead of letting it go to waste. By doing this we may not be directly inviting an impoverished person to join us at our table, but we show our solidarity by ensuring that more people can afford the food they need to eat. And a year of food is one of the best gifts that we can pledge to give for next Christmas.