Despite the race toward achieving sufficiency, food waste has become a habit in some countries. Some buy more food than is needed, while others allow fruits and vegetables to rot at home. This habit puts extra strain on natural resources, damages the environment, wastes human labour, effort, investment and inputs such as water, seeds, feed, etc. that go into production. This behaviour also increases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to climate change.

By definition, food loss is the quantity lost from harvest to the retail level, while those lost at the consumer or retail level are called food wastes. This distinction is cleared to address the root cause of both pre- and post-harvest losses. Experts have said that behavioural change along the food value chain from farmers to processors to middlemen and customers is needed for a sustainable food future.

Below are tips to achieve a sustainable food future.


  1. Buy only what you need

Plan your meals, make a shopping list easy to stick to and avoid impulse buying. With this, less or no food will be wasted and money will be saved.


  1. Store food wisely

Older products should be moved to the front of the cupboard or fridge to be used before the new stock. Also, use airtight containers to keep open food fresh in the fridge and ensure packets are closed to stop insects from gaining entrance.


  1. Understand food labeling

There is a difference between “best before” and “use-by” dates. Sometimes food is still safe to eat after the “best before” date, whereas the “use-by” date tells when it is no longer safe to eat. Check food labels for unhealthy ingredients such as trans fats and preservatives.


  1. Start small

Take smaller portions of food at home or share large dishes at restaurants.


  1. Love your leftovers

Leftovers should be kept frozen for later use or as ingredients in another meal.


  1. Support local food producers

By buying local produce, you support family farmers and small businesses in your community. You also help fight pollution by reducing delivery distances for trucks and other vehicles.


  1. Keep fish populations afloat

Eat fish species that are more abundant, such as mackerel or herring, rather than those that are at risk of being overfished, like cod or tuna. Buy fish that has been caught or farmed sustainably, such as eco-labelled or certified fish.


  1. Use less water

We can’t produce food without water, while it’s important that farmers use less water to grow food, reducing food waste also saves all the water resources that went into producing it.


  1. Keep the soil and water clean

Some household waste is potentially hazardous and should never be thrown in a regular rubbish bin. Items such as batteries, paints, mobile phones, medicine, chemicals, fertilizers, tires, ink cartridges, etc. can seep into the soil and water supply, damaging the natural resources that produce our food.


  1. Eat more pulses and veggies

Once a week, try eating a meal based on pulses or ‘ancient’ grains like quinoa.


  1. Sharing is caring

Donate food that would otherwise be wasted. For example, Apps can connect neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.


  1. Adopt a healthier, more sustainable diet

Life is fast-paced and preparing nutritious meals can be a challenge, but healthy meals don’t have to be elaborate. The internet is full of quick healthy recipes that you can share with your family and friends


  1. Pick ugly fruit and vegetables

Don’t judge food by its appearance! Oddly-shaped or bruised fruits and vegetables are often thrown away because they don’t meet arbitrary cosmetic standards. Don’t worry – they taste the same! Use mature fruit for smoothies, juices and desserts. Buying ugly fruits and vegetables or using leftovers for other meals are two good habits to avoid food loss and waste.


  1. Put your food waste to use

Instead of throwing away your food scraps, compost them, this way you are giving nutrients back to the soil and reducing your carbon footprint.


  1. Respect food

Food connects us all. Re-connect with food by knowing the process that goes into producing it. Read about food production and get to know your farmers.


Little changes to our daily habits can make a huge global impact. Take action, stop food loss and waste for the people and for the planet.


Wasting less, eating better and adopting a sustainable lifestyle are keys to building a world free of hunger.



In commemoration of the 2022 UN’s International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW) on 29 September, SAHE Foundation offers the opportunity to actively get involved in reducing food loss and waste in Nigeria. To participate, forward ways you have observed food loss and waste in your environment and suggest actions that could be taken to curb this menace to

 Under the Policy Framework Advisory (PFA) which is SAHE Foundation’s public sector liaison programme, a platform through which the organisation’s field experience, as well as stakeholders’ concerns and recommendations are channeled to policy makers and policy directions are communicated back to stakeholders. In the same vein, the observations and proffered solutions will be collated and communicated to relevant authorities for apposite and timely reactions. The result will be published on this site on September 29, 2022 in commemoration of 2022 International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW).  


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