Food Waste Around the World is a Food Circle project aimed at providing information and raising awareness about food waste. The project is designed as a series of interviews with students coming from different countries, with the aim of understanding how this issue is tackled and perceived around the world. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which, every year, offers internships to students from all around the world creating a unique multicultural environment.
Today we speak with Oscar from Norway!
“Also, if you start educating children, talking about the food waste situation and how important the food is, maybe you can start making a small change”
Hello Oscar! Thank you for participating in this interview series Food Waste Around the World. To start, could you tell me where you are from and a bit about yourself?
Hi! My name is Oscar and I am from a small town near Oslo, in Norway. I studied animation and 3D design and now I am a 3D animator. Right now I am based in Amsterdam for my internship as 3D animator at Sapient.
Nice! What is the food waste situation in Norway?
I read that a single person wastes around 40 kilograms of food per year. Food waste represents a financial loss of 20 billion NOK annually [approximately 2.26 billion USD]. I wouldn’t say it is such a big issue compared to some other countries. The government has been working since 2015 to reduce the amount of food waste as well as the amount produced, and according to some reports, the situation is improving.
I see. Since you are living in Amsterdam, have you noticed any differences in what you see in the Netherlands compared to Norway?
I noticed that in Amsterdam there is more garbage, sometimes more wasted food in the streets, but I think this is related to the fact that it is a bigger city than my hometown. Apart from that, I don’t see much difference.
I see. Are there any NGOs, organizations or other initiatives currently tackling the food waste issue?
There is the Food Bank rescuing food, fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted. I know also there is the app called Too Good To Go, which saves food and meals from being wasted.
Two new app platforms are helping to tackle food waste in Norway. One, called Bestfør.no, aims to help retailers identify food nearing its “best by” date so the store can act quickly to reduce prices or donate the food. Another initiative is called Foodlist, which works to connect grocery stores directly to consumers for quick purchasing, or to charities that will take the donation.
It is great that there are so many initiatives! Who do you think is more aware of the importance of the food waste issue, the younger or older generation?
Generally, most people are aware, but I would say that young people are more aware while older people don’t really care that much.
Are the mainstream media driving attention to this issue?
No, I wouldn't say so, not that I have noticed anyway.
Oh, I see. What do you think would be the next step to fight this issue? Should action stem from the population, in a bottom-up approach, or top-down, from the government?
I believe that raising awareness, or providing information about the food waste problem, so people would start talking and thinking about it is crucial. At this level, the most important step is to educate people about things like how to better conserve fruits and vegetables, and not to throw away food purely on the grounds of the expiration dates. Organizations should educate people that, even though, for example, eggs expired three days ago, you can still eat them.
Also, if you start educating children, talking about the food waste situation and how important the food is, maybe you can start making a small change.
Interviewer: Andrea Di Bernardo
Interviewed: Oscar Tunal
Organizations mentioned in the interview: Too Good to Go