As we often discuss at The Spoon, food waste remains a major problem worldwide and is getting bigger each year. The upside, though, is that nowadays, chefs, non-profits, tech companies, consumers, artists, and many more are constantly on the hunt for ways to stop it.
And while much of this week’s headlines were taken up with election news and pandemic updates, there were multiple noteworthy pieces of news around food waste innovation. I’ve rounded a few of them up here to give an idea of the creative lengths people will go to in order to curb the world’s massive food waste problem.
First up: face shields made from food scraps (h/t Waste 360). It was only a matter of time before someone came up with an environmentally friendly face mask for the COVID-19 era. London biotech designer Alice Potts has created 20 bioplastic face shields from a combination of food waste and flowers collected around London. The idea was to create a biodegradable face shield made from sustainable materials, rather than single-use plastics.
Architecture and design magazine Dezeen has photos of the face shields, which use food elements for the material and are dyed with walnut husk, beetroot, purple iris, and other natural elements. The color of the shield depends on the food and flowers from which it was made.
Potts’ masks, which she has dubbed Dance Biodegradable Personal Protective Equipment (DBPPE) Post Covid Facemasks, will be on show at the NGV Triennial at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Post-show, the face shield design and bioplastic formula will be available as an open-source design.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., four professional chefs are joining forces next week to teach consumers kitchen techniques that can help reduce food waste in the home, according to the Adirondack Almanac.
The ReCook Cafe, which previously took place in person, will be held virtually this coming Tuesday, Nov. 10. It’s a mix of live and pre-recorded programming that features four chefs sharing tips and techniques to help home cooks get more out of their food items, reduce food waste, save money, and hopefully get a tasty meal out of the deal.
In the U.S., the bulk of food waste happens in our own homes. Our recent Spoon Plus report on food waste outlined some of the companies and tech tools currently available to help consumers fight their own food waste habits. An online workshop that could help folks do that while improving their cooking skills seems like another logical addition to the list.
Best part: it’s free. Register here.
Speaking of food waste at the consumer level: a new study suggests FOMO causes food waste among Gen Z.
Cook Clever, an EIT Food-funded project, surveyed 18- to 25-year olds and found that peer pressure to be “adventurous” in their food choices deters them from meal planning and eating leftovers. According to the study, this generation wants “new and exciting meals and are very opposed to suggestions of being more resourceful with leftovers.”
The study goes on to say that traditional approaches to food waste (see cooking class) don’t appeal to Gen Z. Dr. Natalie Masento, a lead researcher for the project, said we need more “specialized” efforts specifically geared towards the Gen Z age group will be more effective in fighting food waste.
Food Navigator has more thoughts from Dr. Masento, which are worth reading in full.