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There’s a Link Between Wealth and Food Waste, New Research Suggests

Plus, Burgerim’s troubles continue to pile up, and more news to start your day

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Hands scraping a plate of spaghetti into the trash. Photo: nito/Shutterstock

Eat the rich (starting with all the food they throw away)

In 2011, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that one-third of the world’s food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. But a new analysis challenges that widely quoted figure, proposing that humans are throwing away more than twice as much food as previously thought, Bloomberg Green reports.

According to the new study, by researchers at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, the average person wastes 527 calories of food a day, compared to the 214 calories that the FAO previously estimated. (It’s worth noting that the Wageningen University research only looks at food waste once it gets to the consumer; the FAO’s “one-third” number includes both food lost in the production process and food wasted in the kitchen.) The new analysis also suggests that affluence plays a big role in how much food a person wastes — consumers start throwing out food when their spending hits $6.70 per day, which indicates that people in richer countries are likely to waste more food.

The relationship between wealth — even the relative wealth of $6.70 a day — and waste isn’t all too surprising, considering the economic security that comes with being able to throw out a loaf of bread knowing that you can buy 10 more. For an extreme example of the intersection between affluence and an excess accumulation of food, just look at the trend of celebrity kitchens stocked with enough produce and snacks to rival a convenience store’s inventory (and all color coordinated, to boot). In these times, when food loss and waste account for nearly 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, hoarding and aestheticizing sustenance, as Tricia Gilbride writes for Vice, is a flex that none but the richest can afford.

And in other news…

  • Are mushrooms the new kale? [CNN]
  • More states have revoked troubled chain Burgerim’s right to sell franchises. [Restaurant Business]
  • Sprite has launched a new flavor, Sprite Ginger, and is promoting the release with a streetwear-inspired collection made by young creators. [Hypebeast]
  • Denny’s is inviting fans to celebrate Valentine’s Day by getting married for free at its Las Vegas chapel (complete with a live DJ and a wedding reception). [Delish]
  • The rise of Palestinian food. [NYT]
  • Looks like there will be a chef storyline in Wes Anderson’s new movie The French Dispatch, judging from this trailer. [YouTube]

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