Middle East becoming more aware of food waste impact, survey shows

79 percent of respondents are more conscious of food waste during Ramadan, a new YouGov study shows
Middle East becoming more aware of food waste impact, survey shows
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Wed 06 Jun 2018 11:37 AM

A vast majority of residents in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia understand the impact of food waste and are taking steps to do their part to reduce their food waste footprint, according to a new survey commissioned by engineering solutions firm Danfoss.

The survey, which was carried out by YouGov in May, found that 83 percent of residents across the three countries are aware of the environmental impacts of food waste, while 77 percent are taking action.

Food waste across the Middle East has surged in recent years due to a drastic increase in the number of hotels and restaurants in the region.

In Saudi Arabia alone, the estimated economic impact of food waste is $13.3 billion per year, while in the UAE, 40 percent of the country’s total waste is derived from food.

“The food consumption habits in the Middle East are some of the most concerning in the world and this has a significant impact on the global environment, whether it’s because of overflowing landfills or the emission of greenhouse gases as a result of the food waste,” said Ziad Al Bawaliz, regional president for Turkey, Middle East and Africa (TMA).

Across the region, a number of initiatives has been launched to tackle the issue of food waste. In the UAE, for example, Dubai plans to be the first city in the region to achieve zero food waste through the UAE Food Bank.

Of the survey respondents, 79 percent of respondents say they are more conscious of food waste during Ramadan due to food-saving activities that take place, while 68 percent said they often take leftovers home when eating at restaurants and 83 percent said they would, if given the opportunity, give their leftovers to the less fortunate.

“These results are extremely positive; proving that the Middle East region is finally starting to sit up and take notice of the damage being caused to the environment through their own actions is everything we could wish for. It is my hope that the Middle East continues on this path and achieves the goal of zero food waste,” Bawaliz added.

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