NEA to launch campaign to get people to cut food waste

SUBWAY Singapore has partnered the National Environment Agency to raise greater awareness among consumers by putting up posters to educate them on how they can reduce food wastage.
Loke Kok Fai Channel NewsAsia 20 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) is launching a campaign next week to get people to cut food waste.

This comes on the back of a study by NEA and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) which showed that many people in Singapore are not comfortable with wasting food. However, the study also found that the biggest reason Singaporeans choose to cut down food waste is not to save the environment, but the pocket.

In 2014, consumers threw away 687,200 tonnes of food.

According to the study, eight in 10 respondents felt bothered about throwing away uneaten food, while 90 per cent of them felt that it was a waste of money. Concern for the environment "came a close second”, said NEA and AVA.

The top reason for food waste in households was throwing out expired food, with respondents unwilling to compromise on the freshness of food. About 26 per cent said they bought more food than they could consume.

Seventy per cent of these respondents said it was to ensure that household members had more than enough to eat.

"They buy too much and then when they cook, they don't like it,” said Mrs Angela Lee, a housewife. “It’s such a waste.”

"You see things, you want to buy them. But after that, when you go home, you never eat them. So (the things are) wasted. You put them in the fridge and the next day, you throw them away,” echoed Ms Kamariah Samsoori, also a housewife.

"I think we love food and we always order more than what we want actually,” added Mr Sng Sock Kon, a tour bus driver.

However, over-ordering is not a great concern at its outlets in Singapore, said SUBWAY Singapore.

"Even though we have suggestive sales of our items - buy one get one free, bigger sized meals or even add-on meats - these things are not free, so definitely customers only pay for things they can consume and expect to finish," said operations director of SUBWAY Singapore Development, Chua Teow Hock.

The sandwich chain has partnered NEA to raise greater awareness among consumers by putting up posters to educate them on how they can reduce food wastage. Also on board are supermarkets such as Giant, Sheng Siong and NTUC FairPrice.

"NTUC FairPrice supports NEA’s national campaign to raise awareness on reducing food waste, which complements our ongoing campaign to reduce food waste that we spearheaded last year," said chairperson of NTUC FairPrice's Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Jonas Kor. "The various promotions and discount schemes provide greater value to help customers save; we do not advocate food wastage."

- CNA/ek

1 in 4 buys more food than needed: Survey
A survey of 1,016 people conducted from January to July this year found that 80 per cent of respondents are bothered about having to throw food away. Samantha Boh, The Straits Times AsiaOne 21 Nov 15;

Food wastage has increased in recent years, with the average person in Singapore dumping about 146kg of food last year - or the equivalent of 29 packs of rice.

One in four people admits to buying more food than is needed, said a new survey. Most of them do so to ensure household members have "more than enough" to eat, said the survey commissioned by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) released yesterday.

The poll of 1,016 people conducted from January to July found that 80 per cent of respondents are bothered about having to throw food away. Eighty-one per cent think they should reduce food wastage to save money, with 77 per cent thinking that they should do so as food wastage is bad for the environment.

"Overall, the results showed that the awareness of food wastage is high, but more can be done to motivate consumers to take action to reduce food wastage," said NEA and AVA in a joint statement.

To encourage people to cut food wastage, NEA is launching a campaign using posters and educational videos that compare the cost of food wastage and what the money could be spent on otherwise. These will be shown on digital and mobile media platforms, at bus-stop shelters, in newspapers and on TV.

A focus group discussion held after the survey found that consumers are more likely to waste food when dining at home than eating out, as they tend to buy more than what they eventually consume. Many tend to shop on impulse, buying food items on promotion, for instance, instead of referring to checklists and meal plans.

The campaign will thus include customised educational materials on how to reduce food wastage at home. An online guide will be available to provide suggestions on things such as meal planning.

NEA will partner supermarket chains like Sheng Siong and FairPrice, as well as the Subway sandwich chain, to place posters and table-top stickers on their premises to remind consumers not to waste food.

The campaign, which will be expanded to schools early next year, adds to NEA's efforts to cut food wastage. These include pilot pro-jects to convert food waste into compost or water at two hawker centres, expected to be launched next month.

Food accounts for one-tenth of all waste produced in Singapore. About 788,600 tonnes of food were thrown away last year, slightly less than the 796,000 tonnes in 2013, but more than the 606,100 tonnes in 2009. Only 13 per cent of last year's food waste was recycled.

Mr Kavickumar Muruganathan, head of eco-certifications and lead environmental engineer at the Singapore Environment Council, said that while change will take time, the campaign is a good start.

"Greater receptiveness by industries and the public towards providing and accepting food donations would also be a step in the right direction," he said.

Saving money biggest motivation to reduce food wastage: NEA, AVA
AsiaOne 20 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE - Singaporean consumers are mostly motivated by cost savings in a drive to reduce food wastage, a survey found.

A survey commissioned by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) collated responses from 1,016 participants.

It found that eight out of ten Singaporean consumers feel bothered when uneaten food is thrown away. Most respondents said that they avoid wasting food if possible in their preparation of meals at home, eating out or catering of food.

Consumers were also more likely to waste food when eating at home compared to dining out because they tend to over-buy. According to the survey, the most common reason given for doing so was to ensure that household members had more than enough to eat.

In its bid to reduce food wastage, NEA will be launching a programme to encourage the public to engage in smart food purchase, storage and preparation habits.

From Nov 23 onwards, posters and educational videos on food wastage will be featured through channels such as digital and mobile media platforms; at bus-stop shelters; in newspapers and on TV.

The press statement added that the public can also access an online handy guide to reducing food wastage, available at, which provides a wide range of useful tips on how to reduce food wastage at home and when dining out. The handy guide provides suggestions on meal planning, food storage, as well as recipes and innovative ideas on how to use leftover food to create tasty dishes for the family.

NEA will be partnering various food retail businesses such as Cold Storage/Giant, PRIME as well as Community Development Councils (CDCs), grassroots leaders, partners and stakeholders to undertake community-led initiatives related to reducing food wastage.

Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of NEA, said: "The amount of food waste generated in Singapore has seen a 1.5-fold increase in the past 10 years. While we work to reduce food waste disposed of through means such as food waste recycling and redistribution of unsold and excess food, the preferred approach remains that of preventing food wastage in the first place. We encourage everybody to buy only what he needs, or order only what he can finish, and help save the environment and resources by reducing food wastage."

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