Electrolux Malaysia launches initiative to address Food Waste at Home
In line with the findings of the Electrolux Asia Pacific Food Waste at Home Survey, which indicates that 77% of Malaysians waste food at home, Electrolux Malaysia launched the “MY Happy Plate” campaign yesterday to encourage Malaysians to be more food waste aware. For every three pledges to stop the wastage, Electrolux Malaysia will donate a “MY Happy Plate” food bundle to a family in need.
Electrolux, a global leader in home appliances and the leader in kitchen appliances in Malaysia, revealed that Malaysians have unsustainable habits when it comes to finishing what’s on their plate. Despite our love for good food, the food we cook and the treats we ‘tapau’ frequently end up in the trash, with 87% of households admitting that food wastage is a pressing issue. According to the Electrolux Food Waste at Home Survey 2016, 77% of households admit to wasting food on a weekly basis as they forget about the leftovers in the fridge (46%), being fussy eaters (37%), preparing too much (32%) or just turning their noses up at leftovers (26%).
Malaysia wastes a staggering 15,000 tonnes of food per day, according to the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation. This not only has a negative impact on the environment but affects the long-term food resources availability too. What makes this practice even more troubling is that there are still families among us that depend on welfare for their daily meals.
To help address this, Electrolux is launching the community initiative titled “MY Happy Plate” between 9 June and 17 July 2016. At the heart of the campaign, Electrolux is encouraging consumers to commit to finishing the food on their plates at mealtimes because an empty plate is a happy plate. This helps create less food waste, which in turn helps to minimize our global carbon footprint. The campaign also aims to share tips and knowledge on how to exercising portion control when cooking, planning meals and making the most out of leftovers.
Through the “MY Happy plate” campaign on the Electrolux Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ElectroluxMalaysia), Malaysians are invited to pledge that they will leave their plates empty after every meal by liking the pledge post. Each like is equal to one pledge and for every three pledges, Electrolux Malaysia, will donate a “MY Happy Plate” food bundle that will consist of essential, non-perishable food items such as rice, milk powder, oil and instant noodles to charity. The aim is to garner 3,000 pledges and distribute 1,000 “MY Happy Plate” food bundles in Malaysia through charity organizations GT Community Berhad and Life-Care Community Services Berhad.
Mr. Koh Soh Hoie, General Manager, Electrolux Malaysia and Brunei said “Electrolux has always been a thoughtful brand. Our vision is to make life easier and more enjoyable with the help of powered appliances but we also know that the only way to really accomplish this is to create a sustainable future.”
“The “MY Happy Plate” campaign is in line with our vision of a happy and healthy Malaysia where there is access to meals that are not only nutritious and nourishing, but also do not contribute to the solid waste that is choking our beautiful country. Although we Malaysians are passionate about our food and make most meals at home, the issue of food wastage is a very real one and must be addressed before it spirals further out of control. We are happy to be able to do our part with this campaign, and with food waste increasing at each festive season by 15-20% the timing is right too.”
Continuing the “MY Happy Plate” campaign, Electrolux will team up with renowned consultant dietitian Ms. Indra Balaratnam to develop and share with the community nutritious and healthy recipes made with leftovers or with a single ingredient. Cooking classes will also be organized for the public to learn more about portion control and how to plan the right amount of ingredients needed to minimize leftovers and much more.
“It’s high time that Malaysians take a long and hard look at how they consume and waste food. While many waste food, pockets of Malaysia do not even know when or from where their next meal is coming and this is not right” said Balaratnam. “Besides, there is nothing wrong with eating leftovers and we can make healthy and delicious new meals with them, if we just put a little bit of thought into it.”
Roy Tan of GT Community Care said “In the past, we have successfully worked with Electrolux on a charity initiative to help collect, launder and distribute tonnes of used clothing to those in need and I am happy that this thoughtful company is doing such a big thing for the community again. The “MY Happy Plate” initiative will not only help reduce food wastage, but also give the wider community a chance to help over 300 underprivileged families that GT Community and Life-Care Community provide with food on a monthly basis. In addition, we are also feeding 90 children from an orphanage home, 60 senior citizens from two old folks homes and 70 mentally challenged people on a daily basis. This campaign will go a long way to set an example on how problems faced by our community can be solved with a little bit of creative thinking and a small act on the part of all of us. I hope Malaysians will respond positively and help with their pledges.”
Waste Not, Want Not
The Electrolux Food Waste at Home Survey 2016 also found that, although some Malaysians utilize leftovers in meals, the majority of homes (70%) practise this only once or twice a week, making the country one of the worst offenders in the region when it comes to creative cooking.
Part of the reason is also that while a reasonable 60% of households use the freezer to store food and extend its lifespan, a meagre 34% actively take note of expiration dates, which is one of the key causes of food being thrown out. The food items most frequently thrown away are rice or noodles (62%), vegetables (56%), and cooked meat or fish (41%). Only slightly over half the households surveyed (51%) planned meals efficiently to reduce wastage, while even fewer (47%) controlled portion sizes.
Younger people aged 18-24 have admitted to being the worst offenders, throwing away slightly under two plates of food a week on average, however, they also professed to be more passionate cooks, with 66% of those aged 18-24 saying they are “very passionate” about making food at home. Even with a reportedly high level of cooking proficiency amongst Malaysians, almost all respondents admitted to throwing away leftovers even after freezing or refrigerating them.