By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: People on social media are concerned about the amount of food waste at gatherings with family and friends during Ramadan, especially since food consumption increases throughout the holy month by 60 percent in Kuwait. The head of the Kuwaiti Federation of Restaurants, Cafes and Catering Fahd Al-Arbash tweeted a suggestion for restaurant owners to reuse leftovers by creating new dishes. “I have a project in mind to use the extras left from making cakes and sell them for an affordable price,” he said.
“The project will be called ‘My Grace’. I will send an official letter from the Federation of Restaurants to major complexes to give restaurants free space to display their recycled products during the month of Ramadan,” he added. “Tons of food are thrown away daily. As a restaurant owner, when someone orders a cake, we throw away a lot of extras during the process. When preparing the cake, a full cake is cut into the shape of a square or circle, so the edges (of the cake) remain. The leftovers are clean and safe to eat but they need to be refreshed and sold to people at an affordable price” Arbash explained.
Azmi Ali tweeted that several factors contribute to food waste in Kuwait, including the abundance of disposable income, lack of awareness about food waste and inefficient food supply chains. He said the government of Kuwait is taking some measures to address food waste, including launching awareness campaigns and encouraging food donations. A study by Kuwait University concluded that 70 percent of total waste in the country is food waste. Some NGOs are working towards reducing food waste by distributing surplus food to people in need.
Additionally, some supermarkets and restaurants have started to donate unsold food to charities and food banks. Kuwait ranks 20th on the list of top food-wasting countries in the world, according to the Food Waste Index report, with 931 million tons of food wasted annually in the world, which is equivalent to 17 percent of available food.
In 2022, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said the percentage of food waste in Kuwait reaches 400,000 tons annually, which is approximately one-third of the total amount of food imported into the country. However, there is still a long way to go to combat food waste in the country. More efforts are needed to create a sustainable food system and reduce food waste at all stages, from production to consumption.