Food wastage in Singapore: It’s all because food has to look good

Over the years, Singapore has become affluent. Across the world, we are known for turning form a third-world fishing village to a developed metropolis.

Singapore metropolis
Photo credit: Nicolas Lannuzel

But as with all other developed countries, inevitably, people develop bad habits and practices.

When it comes to food, it is no surprise that as a developed nation, we waste on average 130kg per person a year. In 2015, food wastage in Singapore amounted to more than 790,000 tonnes.

Food waste is generated because of various reasons such as, spoilage of food,discarding of edible food because it does not look nice or has ‘expired’, leftovers during cooking and food that cannot be finished.

food wastage in Singapore
Photo credit: ChannelNewsAsia

Food wastage begins before its being sold

Food wastage in Singapore however, does not only happen in eateries or at home. Instead, sometimes, it begins at the point of sale: Markets, Supermarkets, grocery stores etc.

According to a survey done by Electrolux, 83% of Singaporeans would only buy fruits and vegetables that look fresh and good. And this is where food wastage really begins.

Retailers say that “ugly food” – food that are aesthetically not appealing – get thrown away because they did not look fresh or green enough for customers.

Take a walk around a Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre or even your neighbourhood wet market and you would see vegetable sellers trimming at vegetable stalks or leaves to rid them of pest marks or overripe stalks or leaves.

food wastage in Singapore
Photo credit: Channel NewsAsia

So what gets thrown away at such market stalls? Bruised or Misshapen fruits and vegetables and offcuts (fish skins, pork jowls, chicken feet and others).

These days, we seek perfection in almost everything, including the food we eat. Not only does food have to be tasty, but it has to be aesthetically pleasing.

Used to seeing attractive-looking food

It is rather unlikely to see restaurants or eateries serving food that make use of discoloured or misshaped vegetables.

food wastage in Singapore
Photo credit: New York Magazine

And not to mention the growing culture of food instagramming, which leads to the demand of better-looking food.

But studies have shown that “ugly food” has the same nutritional value as a perfect-looking fruit or vegetable. And it even is “equally sweet and juicy” said a nutritionist.

If ugly food is just as nutritious and equally tasty as a normal-looking food ingredient, why don’t we eat it as it is? After all, don’t we eat so as to take in the nutritional value in the food?




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Tim L
Tim L
Proud to be a Singaporean...although I have always wished that our temperature can be 3-5 degrees lower!!! ^^

Tim L

Proud to be a Singaporean...although I have always wished that our temperature can be 3-5 degrees lower!!! ^^

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