There’s a new initiative to combat food waste in Singapore – swapping food items in the office

Food wastage is on the rise in Singapore.
National Environment Agency

The battle of food wastage in Singapore continues, with major supermarkets such as Giant and FairPrice implementing various initiatives to deal with excess food.

So far, this has included launching proper inventory management systems, reduced-to-clear promotions for products that are close to expiry or blemished, and donating unsold products to charity organisations.

Some individuals have also helped to highlight the consumer’s role in combating food waste, and some have even resorted to extreme methods like dumpster diving.

In a report by The Straits Times, dumpster-diver Daniel Tay claimed that he only spent S$8 on food and almost no money on customer goods in 2017.

However, despite these measures, there has been an upward trend in the total food waste generated in Singapore over the years.

Just last year, according to the National Environment Agency, Singapore generated more than 809 million kilogrammes of food waste. This is up from 2016’s 791 million kilogrammes of food waste and 785 million kilogrammes of the same in 2015.

With such trends, food wastage is expected to surge as Singapore’s population grows and economic activity increases in the coming years.

Swedish home appliance maker Electrolux is now hopping on the bandwagon, with a newly launched Social Food Swap campaign which encourages the community to swap food items and ingredients with families, friends and colleagues to reduce food waste.

Social Food Swap is part of HappyPlateSG, a community programme by Electrolux to reduce food waste in Singapore. Started in 2015, HappyPlateSG focuses on educating the public and encouraging small and tangible actions that add up to a big difference in reducing food waste.

Home cooks with excess ingredients in their kitchen can swap these ingredients with others within their social circles who also have excess ingredients. This way, both parties “save” ingredients that would otherwise be wasted, and end up with ingredients that they will actually use, at no added cost.

So far, eight companies across Singapore have already committed to hosting their own Social Food Swaps.

Here’s how it works:

How the initiative works.
Screenshot / happyplate.sg

Among the organisations taking part are local firms, including an infant school, and global brands Deliveroo, OPPO and TripAdvisor.

Electrolux hopes that by encouraging participants to swap 200g worth of products per week, the initiative can reduce food wastage by 10 million kilogrammes in one year.

Companies that wish to carry out Social Food Swap can go to happyplate.sg and download the Social Food Swap Toolkit to kick start their swap.