How can restaurants align with the UN’s theme to fight malnutrition

October 21, 2020 3:54 PM

Thinking sustainably, it should be a motto of every citizen of the nation not wasting the food resources and helping the one who is failing to afford them due to any reasons.

The pandemic has impacted the population in all ways.

By Kiran Chauhan

Around the world, more than enough food is produced to feed the global population—but more than 690 million people still go hungry. Over 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. The COVID-19 pandemic could add between 83-132 million people to this number, depending on the economic growth scenario. The global population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, therefore, our future food systems need to provide affordable and healthy diets for all and decent livelihoods for food system workers while preserving natural resources and biodiversity and tackling challenges such as climate change. Approximately 14% of food produced for human consumption is lost each year between the stages where it is grown or raised to when it reaches the wholesale market. More food is wasted at the retail food and consumer stages.

World Food Day 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of FAO in an exceptional moment as countries around the world deal with the widespread effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of this year was malnutrition. According to the fact, the impact of malnutrition in all its forms – undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, as well as overweight and obesity – on the global economy is estimated at USD 3.5 trillion per year. It’s a time to look into the future we need to build together. Countries, decision-makers and private businesses like Restaurants & QSRs need to accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen food systems and the livelihoods of people who work across the food system and make sure that food makes its way from farm to fork, despite challenges such as pandemics.

Talking about India specifically, we are the country with the largest population of food insecure people. The country where big fat weddings take place and a good number of food is wasted on the daily basis. To curb such food management, certain NGOs and Restaurant chains have come forward with a number of volunteers working selflessly and delivering food to the underprivileged sections of the society. With the help of the state government, we can set up a food bank in certain localities throughout the state and it can be made mandatory for restaurants & Banquets to donate certain proportions of food on the daily basis. This initiative would ease certain challenges of these drives like travelling to different venues/ spots for collecting leftover food and distributing it among underprivileged afterwards.

The pandemic has impacted the population in all ways. The migrants leaving the cities and moving back to their hometowns. Due to the strict lockdown, a good number of daily wage workers faced unemployment. Due to the lack of adequate resources and food scarcity forced them to leave the city life. Many such news came in between that migrants are travelling barefoot without having food for more than 3-4 days. Unfortunately, many have lost their lives just because of unstable food supply to them. Many restaurants & QSRs are working generously from past 7 months for fulfill the nutritional needs.

Thus, the pandemic and the previous statistics about the food insecurity in the country showcases alarming situation faced by the population. Thinking sustainably, it should be a motto of every citizen of the nation not wasting the food resources and helping the one who is failing to afford them due to any reasons. Undoubtedly, food is the basic human right and everyone deserves to have 3 proper meals a day for a healthy living. The food chains, Restaurants are coming forward in every possible manner and we wish the government should contribute in the fight against hunger.

(The author is Head Chef, Krua Thai Restaurant. Views expressed are personal.)

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