MANILA — Rice, vegetables, and meat are the most wasted food in Filipino households, the Department of Science and Technology said in a recent study.
Based on the two-stage cluster survey to assess the household plate waste in the country by the agency's Food and Nutrition Research Institute, some of the factors to wastage to the following food are:
- larger household meal portion size
- greater number of household members
- higher wealth status
The study also found that households with the highest rice consumption were more likely to have rice wastage compared to households with the lowest consumption.
"Rice wastage is also more common in households with a household head whose age ranges from 50–69 years old, than those with a younger household head," DOST said.
"More food are wasted in households with 5 or more members, and those residing in rural areas," it added.
DOST said that households with the highest vegetable consumption were more likely to waste vegetables compared to those with the lowest consumption, as well.
"This implies that households incur more wastes when higher quantities are purchased, which most probably are not consumed and ends up being thrown away due to spoilage," the agency said.
"Households composed of five or less members were found to have greater chances of wasting vegetables, which mirrors the results of a previous study which found that larger households were more efficient in meal consumption," it added.
Meanwhile, fish, meat, and poultry plate waste was less likely in households with less than or equal to five members than in households with more than five members.
The study used the data from 20,151 Filipino households who participated in the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS).
DOST said that richer families tend to have more food waste than poorer families.
"Households belonging to the richest quintile were found to have greater plate waste compared to the poorest quintile. Past studies exhibited the same, where higher income households were found to waste more food than lower-income households," it said.
"This may be explained that higher-income households consume diets that tend to include more perishable items. Some of the waste can be explained by food spoiling before the household had a chance to eat it."
The agency said that the plate waste is closely linked to hunger incidence and threatened food security.
“Millions of Filipinos under poverty and experiencing food insecurity are struggling to be fed, and the food that is simply thrown away or discarded might actually be enough to feed them,” said Dr. Imelda Angeles‑Agdeppa, lead researcher of DOST-FNRI.
It noted that plate waste also generally emits a portion of the total global greenhouse gas emissions that impact on global warming.
"The study suggested that a more effective strategy for reducing food waste may be to train people to prepare and select less food (portion and meal size reduction) and to formulate more policies tackling waste-reduction programs," DOST added.