Engang var Kina et land, der var hærget af hungersnød. Dem har der været flere af i det 20. århundrede. De har kostet millioner af kinesere livet.
Men i dag er det fødevarespild, som hærger Kina. Hvert år ryger der for 215 milliarder kroner fødevarer ud i kinesernes skraldespande, som Zhang-Yue Zhou skriver her på University of Nottinghams China Policy Institute Blog. Tiden med fødevareknaphed er forbi:
Nowadays, when entertaining others, offering a lot of food has become a way to show hospitality as well as to earn “face” because one could be seen as wealthy. Often, in commercial eating outlets, left-overs are not taken away for later consumption. Taking away left-overs may be seen as not “wealthy”, thus face-losing. Recent effort in public media to convince residents that taking away leftover food is the right thing to do has encouraged many people to take away left-overs for later consumption. However, still on too many occasions, left-overs are not taken away. Food waste at functions such as receptions, weddings, funerals, and birthday parties could be further reduced.
As an agrarian society for thousands of years, ordinary Chinese people have been poor. Too many Chinese people are so scared to be seen as poor. Reflected in dining, one may order well in excess of the needs (even without guests) in order to satisfy their psyche for being seen not poor or stingy. In commercial dining facilities the pressure often also comes from waiters and waitresses who make use of people’s psyche and subtly coerce the diner to order more so that they can earn more.
The Chinese way of dining (sharing foods from the same dishes with one’s own chopsticks) also contributes to food waste. While using one’s own chopsticks to pick up foods from the same common dishes is a great way for infectious diseases to pass on, it also discourages one to keep or take away left-over foods for later consumption, due to hygiene concerns. The waste due to this kind of food sharing is greater when not all diners are close family members.