Apologies in advance for any pork based puns. As the Pig Idea
continues to gains support (an initiative to raise the ban on feeding food waste to pigs), it’s got me thinking a little bit more about how much waste actually costs.
There is evidence that up to 30% of all our food is wasted*, whether by us as consumers, during transport, storage or processing. Hardly surprising some might say given the length and complexity of food chains and as consumers become more affluent, this only exacerbates the problem.
This has to be paid for by the consumers. It would be ham-fisted (sorry) to suggest that we are overpaying on our weekly shop by 30% to compensate for this excess, but pay for it we do. On top of this, those businesses in every area of the supply chain need to pay for the waste to be removed, incur additional regulatory and legal obligations and pay for the extra labour.
As the Pig Idea suggests, the waste from supermarkets, restaurants etc. could be used to reduce feed costs, reduce air miles, produce energy and could even generate jobs. It seems to make sense to me - if we can’t effectively reduce our physical waste perhaps we should put it to good use. And what’s good for Pork seems to resonate throughout the sector.
Large scale nationals struggle with the challenges of managing its waste but regional producers can use this to their benefit. As our region is blessed with many small local producers, the same levels of waste can be avoided as the final product does not pass through many hands.
Local producers also have the significant benefit of knowing who their suppliers are, who they are doing business with and how the food is being produced. This leads to greater information sharing, a closer food community and an atmosphere where good food becomes a “norm”.
The localness of our food is an important selling point and one that Lovewell Blake is always happy to support. We are members of Buy Local Norfolk, a not-for-profit organisation that identifies businesses specifically local to Norfolk and encourages people to ‘buy local’. With over 120 members and growing, initiatives like this are gaining momentum.
Local producers do not have the buying power of the supermarkets, so the cost of production may be higher for our Norfolk and Suffolk businesses. But this potential 30% saving highlights why regional businesses can continue to thrive whilst delivering quality.