UN delegates dine out on “imperfect food”

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th February 2013

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has thrown a fancy, five course meal for Government Ministers made entirely of rejected, cosmetically-imperfect food.

The dinner in Nairobi, Kenya saw 500 delegates embrace a no-waste policy, to prove that “ugly” fruit and vegetables are still perfectly edible.

Guests at the dinner were enticed to take home “doggy bags” of food they could not finish, which included grilled sweet corn tamales, yellow lentil dal and an African-version of the Tiramisu dessert.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said that the Kenyan produce from which the dinner was made had been grown for the export market for UK supermarkets, but was rejected due to “stringent standards over appearance.”

“With this dinner we are demonstrating to retailers, consumers and policymakers who can push for change that the astonishing amount of food we throw away is not just edible and nutritious, but also delicious,” Mr Steiner said.

The five-course meal ingredients were collected from producers across Kenya, in which1,600 kilograms of unwanted fruit and vegetables were sourced for the meal and the proceeds were donated to local charities.

According to statistics referenced by the UNEP, almost half of all wasted food in industrialised regions occurs because of a fruit or vegetables appearance. Per-capita waste by consumers is estimated to be between 95 and 115 kg a year in Europe and North America/Oceania, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia each throw away only 6 to 11 kg a year.

Meanwhile, some UK supermarkets are attempting to combat food waste, as Sainsbury’s last year announced it would promote the “ugly” fruit and vegetables to customers and for use in its store-branded products.