Belfast Telegraph

How to turn our craving for 'food porn' into a meal that's fit for a king

Instagram is fuelling waste, but social media can help, explains Katie Wright

Love them or loathe them, so-called 'food porn' photographs are inescapable on social media - there are more than 111 million posts under that hashtag alone on Instagram.

Even if you don't want to look at your friend's artfully arranged avocado toast, or homemade 'Buddha bowl', these snaps are harmless, right?

Wrong, according to new research, which has found that this obsession with documenting our every bite is actually exacerbating the food waste crisis.

The study, from Sainsbury's, suggests that 18 to 34-year-olds are more concerned with the idea that food is about pleasure, while neglecting to plan ahead, over-buying food and throwing away the resulting waste.

Of the 15 million tonnes of edible food waste produced in the UK each year, 7.3 million tonnes come from households, according to the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), even though 60% of people surveyed by the organisation believe they personally waste either no food, or hardly any.

Clearly, that's not the case, as the Sainsbury's report also found millennials (18 to 35-year-olds) are more likely to have a 'live to eat' attitude and to experiment with exotic ingredients that are harder to reuse, compared to older generations who are thrifty in the kitchen and spend less on groceries.

But while social media might be to blame for young people's profligate behaviour, elsewhere the internet is helping to fight the war on waste, via a variety of innovative apps and sites.

Uninspired by what's hanging around in the fridge? BigOven lets you input three foods and suggests recipes (visit www.bigoven.com/recipes/leftover).

Similarly, WRAP's Love Food Hate Waste website and app (www.lovefoodhatewaste.com) offers meal ideas, plus advice on portion sizes and meal planning to help you make the most of your shopping. Got a bunch of grub you're not going to eat? Olio (olioex.com) is like FreeCycle, but for food, letting individuals and businesses offer up goods on the app for neighbours to take, with no money changing hands (except for some optional donations to charity).

Foodbank (foodbankapp.co.uk) links to your local foodbank and lets you know the items they're currently most in need of.

Tackling the issue of restaurant waste, Too Good To Go (toogoodtogo.co.uk) offers discounted meals from eateries that would otherwise have been thrown away.

And you can snap it for social media if you like. There's no need to limit those hunger-inducing Instagrams, as long as you start to think a bit more carefully about your consumption - not just the photo composition - and ensure that the food ends up in your tummy, and not in the bin.

Belfast Telegraph

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