Art & Entertainment

World Food Safety Day: Best Documentary Films On Global Food Wastage

Every year on June 7, World Food Safety Day is observed to increase awareness and urge people to take actions to avoid, recognise, and manage foodborne dangers. Also, it helps in creating awareness in people about food wastage. Here are a few eye-opening recent films that showcase how much food gets wasted all over the world.

Documentary Films On Food Wastage

The United Nations commemorates World Food Safety Day on June 7 every year to raise awareness about food and water contamination worldwide. WHO continues to work to reduce food-borne illnesses across the world, and this day just helps people recognise the efforts that these organisations are putting in and also create awareness among common people.

At no time in world history has opulence and abject want existed side by side in such extremes as the present. More than history, literature tells us that in the past, too, there were instances of orgies by the rich that took place within metres of a hungry multitude, but at least, those feudal excesses did not need to be, nor were, justified by a universal morality.

Today, on the other hand, democratically elected governments choose to hoard agricultural produce in godowns in the name of food security for the people, who go unfed and malnourished. On TV, cookery and cooking competition shows callously promote wastage, and then reinvent the wheel by packaging age-old wisdom under catchy taglines like "slow food", "head to tail cooking", "zero carbon footprint", "farm to table", etc.

Here are a few recent films that follow in the footsteps of pioneers like The Gleaners and I (Agnes Varda, 2001) and Our Daily Bread (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2005), that problematise food production, consumption, wastage and excesses, and encourage us viewers to start making the change we want to see from our homes.

‘A Place At The Table’

This documentary by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examines the struggles of three food-insecure Americans. The film takes the viewers through their days and underlines the difficulties they confront during their mealtimes. According to the film, one in every two American children may require food assistance at some point of time in their lives. Not just that, the film also reveals that around 50 million Americans rely on humanitarian and charitable feeding programs. A Place At The Table emphasises that hunger-related problems may be solved if people acknowledge that eradicating hunger should be a top concern.

‘Taste The Waste’

Directed by Valentin Thurn, the film promises to give the viewer a better appreciation of the amount of food that is thrown away. It tells how most of the food that goes waste is still edible and could actually be going to someone who is in need and is actually hungry. According to the movie, over 90 million tonnes of food is thrown away in just the European Union each year. This includes around 3 million tonnes of bread – a staple of many communities across the globe. There is a specific scene where the movie shows a dumpster that is full of reportedly old bakery products and trucks that are assumedly full of veggies that have some insufficiencies. The movie discusses how technology is used just to trash tomatoes and that is based merely on their colour. A startling fact stated in the film is that the food that is actually wasted out in Europe and North America, that itself would be enough to feed all hungry people in the world not just once but three times over. ‘Taste The Waste’ is a testament to how much wonderful food is actually wasted all over. The film promises to encourage people to be more cautious before throwing out food that could actually be feeding someone in need.

‘Just Eat It’

Through the process of making this film, Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin become aware of the dangers of food waste, and thereby inform the audiences of the after-effects of the same. It is a documentary on society’s systematic obsession with expiry dates, flawless produce, and portion sizes. Just Eat It follows Rustemeyer and Baldwin as they live off of food that was destined for the garbage. This film discussed a poignant topic but in a pretty funny and amusing way. It is also an eye-opener and surely makes the viewer reevaluate how they inspect vegetables at the market before they finally end up buying them.


Wasted is a documentary directed by filmmakers Anna Chai and Nari Kye. Released in October 2018, the film aims to improve the way people buy, cook, recycle, and enjoy food. The film depicts cooks repurposing food that would otherwise be thrown out. Not just that, it also shows how they create delectable meals out of them. The film makes the viewers realise how the present food production and waste methods contribute to climate change. The film encourages people to embrace more sustainable behaviours in their day to day practices.

‘How To Feed The World’

How To Feed The World, directed by filmmaker Denis Van Waerebeke, was initially intended for viewers aged 9-14. It employs eye-catching visuals to demonstrate how globalisation and commerce are slowly and steadily impacting which foods are accessible and which foods are not in certain parts of the world. Though delivering food to starving individuals in poorer nations may assist briefly, the film reveals that this gesture might actually create more harm to local economies, prolonging more difficulties. How To Feed The World encourages people to work together to eat more responsibly in order to find a long-term solution. It advises people to make a difference by eating more plant-based foods.