Food is the ‘f’ in festivities (well, in my world) but, it is interesting to ponder the food that we (over) consume as we celebrate. So much of it is based on traditions borrowed from other countries and that have now been assimilated as our own. Considering where traditions come from, it does seem a little strange that we keep them alive – perhaps it’s habit, or comfort in an ever-changing world, or religious beliefs. Regardless of the why, the fact is that this time of year is an extremely wasteful one.
The scale of waste
Take for example, the humble fruit mince pie. Now the fruit mince pie is a polarizing thing there are those who like them and those who would rather eat a shoe, very little middle ground. As an illustration, watch at the office party: what is most likely to have one bite out of then hidden by the office pot plant? Likely, it’s a mince pie. Putting aside the ones behind the pot plants, in the UK alone it is estimated that 74 million mince pies are thrown away. Doing some back-of-the-envelope maths, that’s around 740,000 kg of butter wasted. Then, add in that the UK also throws out around 5 million Christmas puddings, and 2 million turkeys. That’s surely food for thought.
Across the Atlantic, the US waste around 204 million pounds of turkey over Thanksgiving – so that’s 6 million turkeys that are put in the bin. Food wastage is a global problem but it gets even worse in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year in the US; with a further 5 million more pounds of food being wasted.
Is it time to revisit our traditions if those traditions are now punctuated by unsustainable food related behaviours?