Cafeteria serving free meals in Rio will use excess food from Olympic Village

With the Euro Cup and Wimbledon behind us, and the Rio Summer Olympics underway, 2016 is shaping up to be a truly phenomenal year for mega sporting events. Yet, mass events are nearly always associated with mass food waste. In order to ensure that all athletes, fans and workers are fed, catering companies produce incredible amounts of food, of which some inevitably is wasted.

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There is also an issue with garbage separation during such events. During the London 2012 Olympics, cross-contamination of biodegradable and non-biodegradable food items proved to be a challenge for properly composting discarded food. The leader of the London 2012 sustainability program, David Stubbs, told The Guardian that cities must have the infrastructure to deal with the excess amount of waste in order for any recycling or composting program to be successful. In Rio, programs are being put in place to help curb waste, including Refettorio Gastromotiva, a cafeteria set up in Rio’s favelas that uses excess food from the Olympic village. Run by world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura, the cafeteria serves free meals to anyone who comes to their door. Bottura has invited chefs from around the world to participate in Refettorio, and has worked with organizations in the city of Rio throughout the process so that the cafeteria will still operate after the Olympics are done.

You can learn more about Refettorio Gastromotiva here.


Study links food waste with familial affection in Brazil


A recent study (“Wasted positive intentions: the role of affection and abundance on household food waste“) has drawn a connection between affection and food waste.

The study interviewed 20 participants in Brazil and found that caregivers typically express affection by providing large amounts of food to children and guests. Over-serving food and keeping a stocked fridge for any occasion is an important part of Brazilian cultural, according to the study’s author, Gustavo Porpino. This is especially true for mothers, who often “do everything they can to fit the traditional role of a ‘good mother'”. However, as this study has found, despite the caregiver’s best intentions this behavior can result in wasted food and therefore, wasted money.

In order to reduce food waste, Porpino suggests that people be educated on the link between wasted food and wasted money. Programs on how to properly buy, store and portion food would also prove beneficial for families, who would save money while reducing food waste.

Read more about the study here, and a summary as discussed on CTV News here.