Food for thought: Waste not, want not!

26 Feb 2013

It was an interesting report. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers, a group in the United Kingdom, published a recent report on food being wasted worldwide. (

The report mentions a new leading cause, amongst the other known ones, as being the need for “…perfect looking foods”. Supermarkets discard large numbers of blemished fruits and vegetables because in the developed countries where food is plentiful, consumers want to eat foods that match an idealized image created by marketers. That perfectly shaped red shiny apple. The firm, lush green rounded head of iceberg lettuce. Perfectly edible and nutritious food is being discarded by these markets for no reason but the lack of a visual aesthetic. Starving populations across the globe must find this incomprehensible.

I was recently looking at some recordings that a trainer had made. They were to be used online by employees for learning about a critical aspect of their work. He had created video based recording and was uncomfortable about publishing it and made several attempts because it did not “look right”. I was privately quite amused then.

After reading this report on the wastage of food I had a new perspective. How many people who could have benefited from his expertise were possibly going to miss out because he was concerned with an aspect that had but a cosmetic (Literally!) impact?

Timely information that is relevant should be captured and sent out to people who can use it even if is not in “High Definition”, or “…Looks stilted and stiff…”. Create rough and ready content. People who will use it will appreciate the immediacy and realism. However do not compromise on the accuracy and clarity to make it easily understood and valuable. So do go ahead and create that training material about that new regulation that will impact your industry or anything else that’s waiting to be understood.

You look fine.

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