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Global Causes Behind Food Waste

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Where there are people, there is food; where there is food, food is wasted. The whole world wastes over 1 billion tonnes of food per year, which translates to 1 trillion USD – if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world. In fact, the responsibility of such wastage is shared between more developed countries (MDCs) and less developed countries (LDCs).

More Developed Countries (MDCs): over-production of food

            In places like the United States and the European Union, favorable government policies and subsidies make the internal food market impenetrable by foreign imports, thus lowering competition faced by the local agricultural sector. This encourages farmers to grow more crops – ultimately to the amount of excess.

           The excess food grown by MDCs is often thrown away. More than that, the deluge of food produced drags down food prices, stimulating consumers to over-purchase – humans have a natural inclination to buy cheap stuff despite knowing they won’t use them, in case you haven’t noticed. As a result, more food is discarded. However, not all of the excess food ends up in the trash: some of it will be exported to other countries. For instance, the US attains $133 billion in revenue from exporting foods and feeds.

Less Developed Countries (LDCs): poor packaging, poor cold chain, poor distribution

           And to whom do MDCs sell their excess produce? LDCs; Malaysia is no exception.  Since excess food in MDCs is sold to LDCs, it seems all and well and food waste would be reduced, right? Think again.

        The influx of imported foodstuff stimulates local farmers to increase production to compete with the imports, in an effort to maximize income. Malaysian farmers growing more crops – such as rice, coconut, and durian – inevitably lead to more crops being wasted, including overproduced vegetables.

        Besides more crops being discarded from being unsold, a large portion of food products never make it from farm to table. For instance, the cold chain – making sure foods are appropriately refrigerated during transport and storage – is hindered by the lack of technology, poor infrastructure, and inefficient transport in LDCs, causing food spoilage before products arrive before the customer’s eyes.

        Poor packaging of food also shortens the shelf life of food. According to the Boston Consultant Group (BCG) found that the shelf life of strawberries can increase by half with better packaging.

Strawberries Thrive in Cameron Highlands

        Moreover, the lack of effective channels to distribute surplus food to those who need it doesn’t help the food waste problem. Thankfully, changes are being made on this front. Food Bank Malaysia, a government initiative, has saved 1055 tonnes of surplus food and benefited 45,850 households; it has also set up the first national food bank, located in Penang. Aside from government action, the NGO sector has been hard at work to improve the allocation of surplus food as well. For instance, Grub Cycle sells surplus fruits and vegetables from supermarkets at a discounted price to underprivileged communities.

Pasar Grub: Providing Affordable Produce to the Low Income Community

        On a global scale, MDCs should transfer their technology and knowledge to LDCs to reduce food loss in the food production process in LDCs. Nevertheless, extensive effort by NGOs and the government are not enough to make a difference – the key to change lies in the hands of the people. Grocers must support Food Banks and enterprises like Grub Cycle; consumers must actively purchase surplus food; people must realize that surplus food is perfectly edible and buying it has remarkable environmental benefits. 

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Jasper & Sharyn

Olive Oil

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About Olive Oil

Pressed from fresh olives, olive oil is one of the most widely used oil in cooking and its health benefits aplenty. Olive oil not only reduces the risk of diabetes, but it also helps prevent heart diseases, fights osteoporosis as well as protect against different types of cancer. There are generally two types of commonly used olive oil: extra virgin and virgin. The former is mainly used for dipping and dressing, whilst the latter can be used for both dressing and for cooking.

Nutrition facts

Monosaturated fat – 77g

Polyunsaturated  – 8.4g

Saturated fat         – 13.5g


How long can olive oil be used after the expiration date?

Like many other food products, olive oil is safe for consumption or use even after the expiration date. Generally, a closed or opened bottle of olive oil, both extra virgin and virgin, can be used for up to 2-3 years if stored properly. The colour, texture and clarity of the product may change with age, but the product may still be safe to consume.

Further, it is also important to consider what is meant by the expirationdate. If the label states information regarding the time of minimum durability(TMD) of the olive oil, then this refers to the minimum time within which the product maintains its organoleptic properties (taste, colour, odour) as defined on the label. The standardised TMD for olive oil is 18 months from the date of bottling, but beyond this time, olive oil is still safe for consumption or use.

Here are some tips to extend your olive oil’s shelf life:

  • Store them in air tight containers
  • Keep them in a cool, dark place such as the pantry
  • Avoid placing them near appliances of high heat such as the stove or the oven

*Please note that while these are our recommendations on how to best store your olive oil, individual circumstances apply depending on the taste, odour and colour.


Liking what you’re hearing so far? Don’t miss out on our bargain olive oil deals below! Click here to purchase them.







5 Foods You Can Still Eat Past The Expiration Date

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Expiration dates printed on the packaging of foods at the supermarket are not always accurate representations of a food’s shelf life. These labels actually cause millions of pounds of food to be wasted every year as not many people actually understand what expiration dates really mean.

Here are 5 examples of food that you can safely eat past their expiration date:

1. Cereal

  • Like many other food products, cereals have a shelf life beyond its expiration date printed on their boxes. If stored properly – that is, in a cool, dry place – cereal can last for months after the sell-by date. If you’re at the store and you see your favourite cereal brand on sale, make sure you stock up fast! It might be a bit stale, but it can be eaten for at least another six more months.
  • Check out Grub Cycle’s selection of cereals here

2. Chocolate

  • Ever seen a whitish coating on the surface of your chocolate and think it’s expired? The white film is actually called “chocolate bloom” and it can be safe to consume. Just make sure that the chocolates are stored in a cool place!
  • Check out our selection of chocolates (such as Kit Kat, M&M’s and Ferrero Rocher) here!

3. Canned goods

  • Have you ever wondered why people in apocalypse movies have their food storage filled with canned goods? It’s because canned goods don’t expire for year after the expiration date! Since oxygen doesn’t get into the cans, bacteria can’t grow in them. For best results, they should probably be kept in a cooler, dryer and darker part of your kitchen.
  • Just in case you need to stock up.. Here’s Ayamas Kitchen Sardines in Tomato Sauce for only RM6.00 that expires on 16-Jun-2019!

4. Soft drinks

  • Did you know that most soft drinks have a best before rather than an expiry date printed on them? That’s because carbonated drinks can be consumed even after this date as they are formulated with additives in order to last longer.
  • The taste might not be of peak quality (hence, the ‘best before’ date) but they’re still consumable if stored properly! Food scientists estimate that those with regular sugar content can safely be consumed up to 6 months after their best before date whilst diet soda can last up to 4 months.
  • Feeling thirsty? Check out what canned drinks we have for you here!

5. Pickled foods: