An average Omani family wastes about a third of all food prepared within the household, according to a study conducted by a researcher at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), the country’s premier higher learning institution.
Asma Al Beloushi, a member of SQU’s Department of Natural Resource Economics, said in a statement released by the university on Thursday that an Omani household typically throws away 70 Omani riyals (Dh9.5) worth of leftover food every month. An economy ministry survey of food consumption trends carried out in 2010 put the average spend on food per Omani family at 205 riyals per month.
While servings averaged 250 grams for children and 600 grams for adults, food waste averaged 143 grams per child and 41 grams per adult. Wastage at 57 per cent was the highest for children of ages 1-5 years, and lowest at 7 per cent for adults above the age of 40. Children in the age group of 6-18 years wasted about 56 per cent of food.
The researcher also discovered that, contrary to tradition, family members were no longer eating together as a unit. While the adults were typically in a rush to eat and finish, the children were found watching television while eating. The dining process itself lacked any parental advice to their wards in terms how food should be consumed and wastage avoided.“Education is perhaps one of the most effective and sustainable approaches to addressing the root cause of food waste, and changing the attitudes of people towards food waste reduction,” said Dr Hemesiri Kotagama, a fellow researcher helping out with Asma’s study.
According to the scientist, reducing food wastage at home can collectively help reduce global food hunger. Towards this end, SQU’s Department of Natural Resource Economics is offering a study programme on the topic, ‘The Wood Food Programme’.
The Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO), in a study titled “Global Food Losses and Food Waste”, estimates that one third of world food production is lost and wasted. This amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year. In the rich countries the waste is closer to consumption and in poorer countries it is closer to production and processing sources. A mix of approaches, technological, socio-politico-economic, would be the best way to reduce food losses, the University added in its statement.from gulfnews.com