Food waste in the UK
Did you know that the UK produces 6.7 million tonnes of food waste annually? That’s equivalent to about £250-400 worth of food for each household. Not only is this a waste of valuable resources (the food itself plus the resources used to grow it), but this also has negative impacts on the environment. For example, 8% of manmade GHG emissions come from food in wasteland (predominantly methane), and that up to 30% of land used to grow food is wasted.
In a world where millions still go to sleep hungry, climate change is intensifying, and land and water are becoming increasingly scarce, it seems irresponsible and short-sighted for us to be wasting all this food. Furrow helps to turn the tide around and be part of the solution to this issue. Here’s how:
Shorter supply chains
In most large-scale supermarkets, produces undergo multiple steps after harvest such as packaging, processing, manufacturing, and redistribution. Transportation is also involved between these steps, and by the time the produce reaches supermarket shelves, it’s been several days since harvest. Of course, even then it might be several days until someone decides to purchase it. All this means that the food is less fresh, and will likely not last long. In contrast, Furrow operates in a way that shortens the supply chain. After orders are placed by consumers, they are harvested and delivered to your doorstep within 36 hours. Without all the in-between steps, you’re guaranteed to have fresher food that lasts longer once it’s in your fridge.
Harvest only what is needed
Since supermarkets can’t predict with 100% exactly what consumers will buy, in order to ensure sufficient supply their suppliers must harvest in excess. This means there’s a high chance that some of it won’t be purchased and eaten. In contrast, the farmers we partner with will only harvest what is ordered through our market. Supply meets demand exactly and there is no waste.
With conventional supermarkets scattered around the city, it can be all too easy to just stroll into one mindlessly and purchase a bunch of products without planning ahead. This can lead to buying more than you need, or buying ingredients that you later can’t figure out what to cook with. Our hope is that when you order through Furrow, you can feel more connected to the food you purchase and get excited about the amazing recipes you’ll cook with all of the high-quality ingredients from our farmers. It’s also why we provide recipes on our website – so that you have inspiration of how to cook the produce, and what you might want to purchase together.
No sell-by or consume-by dates
Most produce in supermarkets tend to be packaged with plastic (bad for the environment!) and labelled with a ‘consume-by’ date. What many people don’t know is that these are just rough estimates, not strict deadlines. It’s why often times food gets binned just because its past the specified date, even though it might still be edible. How quickly something goes bad will actually depend on a variety of factors. Since our fruits and veg don’t have a consume-by date, we want consumers to gauge for themselves if it looks and smells fresh rather than wasting food just because of an approximated date.
Reconnecting with the farmers
Last and perhaps most importantly, we want our customers to learn about and get to know the farmers who work tirelessly to grow the produce that you see on our market. Part of the reason our society has become so desensitised to the act of wasting food is because of this disconnect in the modern food system. If only everyone knew the amount of time and effort that goes into growing a piece of fruit or vegetable, they might think twice before chucking it into the bin. At Furrow, we believe that reviving this valuable relationship between farmers and consumers is a key step to changing the way we approach food.
Reducing food waste is a key leverage to minimising resource waste and the damage on our planet. You can play your part and make a difference, one purchase at a time. By ordering on Furrow, you are not only supporting regenerative agriculture which is already a plus, but you’ll likely rediscover the joy of eating fresh, seasonal produce and never even think about throwing food in the bin.