Food waste is a global scourge, and in Greece, despite the economising brought about by the financial crisis of the last eight years, about 30 percent of the foodstuffs purchased by the average Greek family ends up in the trash bin, according to a report published in the daily Ta Nea today.

Katia Lazaridi, a professor at the School of the Environment, Geography and Applied Economics, told Ta Nea that of the 98 kg of food every Greek throws out each year, 30 percent of that waste could be avoided.

Among the 88 tonnes of food thrown out in all 28 EU member-states annually, the largest chunk, 46.5 percent comes from households.

The estimated aggregate monetary value of that food is an astronomical 143 billion euros.

A recent study conducted by Athens’ Harokopio University show that some of the main reasons Greek families throw out food is that food products’ expiration date has passed, and bad planning of the quantity to be purchased for a specific number of portions of cooked food.

The main types of foods that end up in the trash bin are fruit (24.9 percent of the total), cooked food (24.5 percent) , green groceries (14.9 percent), breads (13.6 percent), and milk products (11.3 percent).

The reasons why food is wasted have to do with habits, which arise from social, cultural, and gastronomic conditions in any given region.

Another issue is that many Greek families have not become accustomed to planning a weekly menu.
Moreover, Greek consumers often fail to carefully note expiration dates on labels.

Evi Saltou