It’s an odd time of year. People are making their way back to work after a protracted break, many with leaden legs due to having eaten so much over the festivities. Without wishing to be a killjoy, Christmas and New Year is a time of excess. People are prone to eat and drink to bursting point, indeed I read once that we can get through seven thousand calories on Christmas day alone. No wonder our trousers are feeling tight and our bodies sluggish.

Our relationship with food is complicated, we have come along way from using food just to keep alive. For most of us food is filled with deep social conventions and it is said that a family that eats together stays together. Christmas is seen as a time to bring families together. Not everyone is so lucky however. Not everyone has a hearth and home, or indeed a loving family to meet around the table.

It troubles me to see us waste so much food either by over consumption as we do at this time of year or by discarding unwanted and over-purchased goods. In the UK, an estimated 10.2 million tonnes of food and drink, worth around £20 billion, are wasted annually, with householders spending £13 billion every year on perfectly edible food that ends up being thrown away.

Earlier in 2019, food providers came together to try and address the problem yet the answer must lie not only with business but also with the consumer. Perhaps food is too cheap and attainable? It is certainly too valuable to throw away. We should all make careful choices when at the supermarket: Do I really need to buy this? When am I going to get to eat this? Does this offer good value if I end up discarding some.

Oh, and as for eating competitions or food fights – don’t get me started.

Phil Jackman – Director NIBE

[Image thanks to YouTube]