Dubai, UAE, June 28, 2016: While Ramadan is a time to celebrate and appreciate blessings, it is also a time to reflect on those less fortunate and consider how to improve their future lives. Sadia, the leading brand of chilled and frozen food around the world is campaigning for families across the Middle East to conserve food during the Holy Month and encouraging them to focus more on what is required rather than desired – currently up to 25% of all food purchased or prepared during Ramadan is thrown out before being used or consumed.
The Sadia campaign aims to raise awareness of food wastage in the region, which has become an increasingly worrying trend. A study by the Ministry of Agriculture in Saudi Arabia showed that nearly AED 50 billion worth of food is wasted each year – enough to build more than a thousand schools and hospitals. In Bahrain, during Ramadan, the demand for beef, mutton, chicken and related meat products increases by almost 50% and the wasted food increases by the same amount. And, according to the Abu Dhabi Centre of Waste Management, 50 per cent of the total waste generated in the Emirate is excess food that has been thrown away.
The campaign is spearheaded by a Facebook video, ‘Faisal’s Supermarket Trip’, which features a young boy from an underprivaleged background on a shopping trip. He is told he can buy any groceries he wants but returns home with the most basic ingredients and shares a happy family supper where the food is finished, not forgotten.
“We have always been passionate about providing the best food and we want to show how to make the most of it,” said Patricio Rohner, General Director BRF Sadia Middle East. “Of course, Ramadan is a wonderful celebration and a chance for us all to enjoy time with our family and friends, but sometimes that can lead to a generosity that is often well-intentioned but occasionally ill-advised. Our hope is to give the right advice, conserve our resources and highlight some simple steps we can all take which can reduce waste dramatically.”
Some of the tips Sadia lists for reducing food wastage include planning a week’s menu and shopping just for those ingredients, using leftover food the next day, using food that is closest to its expiry date first, using ‘first in, first out’ for food in fridges and larders and many more.
“With our own ‘Tender Chicken Breasts, Frozen One by One’ products, we ensure there is an option to defrost each piece separately and reseal the pack so that only the amount that is needed is prepared,” added Rohner. “As families, as communities and as societies, we need to plan our menus a little bit more, and leave what’s on the plate a little bit less.”
Sadia is also running a competition #SaveFoodWithSadia where fans of the Facebook page, facebook.com/SadiaLife can post other ways to avoid wasting food.