VC501 – Design Manifesto: Food Waste & Overconsumption – Results of Consumerism?

Every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted around the world. One third of the food produced globally is wasted. In low-income countries most loss occurs during production, while in developed countries much food – about 100 kilograms per person a year is wasted.

Food is a strange topic to cover with consumerism. Although a lot of food is wasted during the production, food processing, or retail stage, a much higher ratio is wasted due to over-consumption. This over-consumption is due to social grooming as a direct result from advertising and our developed need as a society to consume as much, as fast, and as quickly as possible. This creates greed. In the same way a person may want to buy a car, and they don’t feel happy until they’ve purchased the car, it’s a similar process for food shopping – but emotional connections are far greater with food, as we have a biological reaction to it, i.e. taste, nostalgia etc. Many companies advertising campaigns home in on the nostalgic quality, or the general product quality of their products. We see a food product on the shelf,, and we want it, even though we have enough food for our needs, so we buy it, but we might not want it to make a meal, or because we are hungry, we want it because of the packaging, or because of the advert we saw on  TV for it last night.

Consumerism culture has had the same effect on our food shopping as it has on our general purchasing and consumption, it becomes a cycle.


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