More reducing food wastage but some still cater too much: NEA survey

·Editorial Team
This year’s survey found 41 per cent of respondents admitting that they cater food for more guests than expected when holding events. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
This year’s survey found 41 per cent of respondents admitting that they cater food for more guests than expected when holding events. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — While more consumers in Singapore have taken steps to reduce food wastage, four in 10 still cater more food than needed when hosting events.

These were the findings of a survey commissioned this year by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on the sentiments of Singapore residents with regard to food waste.

“The findings are encouraging, and point to a growing awareness and action on food waste reduction by the various stakeholders,” said NEA in a press release on Monday (23 December) announcing the survey results.

Improvement over previous survey in 2015

This year’s survey, which involved face-to-face interviews with 1,000 randomly-selected household representatives, found 41 per cent of the respondents admitting that they cater food for more guests than expected when holding events. This is a slight improvement over the 52 per cent who said the same in 2015, when the survey was last conducted.

NEA also noted that about a quarter of respondents bought more than what they needed while grocery shopping. The main reason cited for such behaviour was to ensure that household members have more than enough to eat.

The survey also found that fewer than half of the respondents prepared lists before grocery shopping (43 per cent), and that few were willing to buy fruits or vegetables with slight imperfections (32 per cent). Only 38 per cent of respondents said they were open to buying discounted expiring food.

Despite the low percentages in these three areas, this year’s survey found that more respondents had taken up the above habits compared with 2015.

More respondents this year also said they actively reduced their food wastage through measures such as using up leftover ingredients in the fridge (71 per cent, up from 58 per cent in 2015); having no leftovers when eating out (64 per cent, up from 59 per cent in 2015); and taking away unfinished food when dining out (56 per cent, up from 44 per cent in 2015).

“Interestingly, some households (3 per cent) are composting their food waste,” said NEA.

The agency added that those surveyed cited the prospect of saving money and protecting the environment as their motivations for reducing food waste. It was also noted that many believe that having more information, such as on how to store food and how to share excess food, would also be useful.

Respondents also said they would waste less food if they had the option of ordering smaller portions when dining out, said NEA.

Festive season tips

To reduce food wastage this festive season the NEA also suggested the following:

  • Cater about 10 per cent to 15 per cent less food than usually required when hosting events

  • Opt for less rice or noodles when preparing food for events as carbohydrate items then to be the most commonly wasted

  • Avoiding using perishable items as gifts

  • Plan a “use-it-up” meal for leftovers

For more tips and interesting recipe suggestions for leftovers, members of the public can also make use of NEA’s online guide.

(GRAPHIC: NEA)
(GRAPHIC: NEA)

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