Why Wendy Jacobs thinks emptying your plate is important
Find out how you can help the needy in Singapore by emptying your plate, and what Wendy Jacobs has to say about this.
Singapore is undeniably a foodie nation. We are blessed with a melting pot of cultures, resulting in great cuisine from all over the world - from our street stalls Hainanese chicken rice to our Michelin starred restaurants, Singapore has got it covered.
Food to Singaporeans, is not just a means of survival, it is a way of life.
But when you cook or when you eat out with your family, do you consider how much food you are actually wasting? According to the National Environment Agency, 788,600 tonnes of food was wasted in Singapore in 2014. That’s equivalent to weight of 108 full load double-decker buses in a day.
Electrolux, a leading home appliance brand recently conducted a survey that was very telling of Singaporean's eating habits - while the majority of Singaporeans over-order, over-buy or over-cook routinely (51%), almost one third refuse to eat leftovers.
To raise awareness of these eating habits, Electrolux kickstarted a campaign called #happyplatesg, a community initiative inspired to raise awareness of food waste in Singapore, one plate at a time, with Wendy Jacobs as the ambassador.
Wendy is not only a gorgeous model hailing from South Africa, she is also married to Singapore's favourite football son Fandi Ahmad and they have a brood of five.
theAsianParent had the opportunity to speak to Wendy about her role in this campaign.
Why did you choose to take up this role?
As a mother of 5 and a family of 7, we do waste, we do over cook, we do overbuy. This campaign made me take a step and think about the food that we waste and how we can cut back on this wastage.
My kids are kids who will eat anything but we were cooking too much of what they wanted. I used to think leftovers for one day was okay but more than that and I would have thrown it away.
What are some tips you can offer Singaporean families in order for them to waste less?
What we do now, is we cook one big luncheon, which is our main meal. Then whatever is left over from lunch, that is dinner, and we add to that. So we cook things that can keep - things like pasta, chicken curry, less of foods like bee hoon and salads.
Read on to see what else Wendy has to say about this campaign.
Why do you think this campaign is a good idea?
It is economics. I mean, I am the three-trolley lady in the supermarket. People look at me, and they ask me, how long is that going to last you, and I tell them a week! (laughs) I have 5 kids and 7 people in the household so that is a lot of food that is needed.
I think it is important for families to live within their means. Big families need to learn to stretch their food. It's also the food culture here. Asians still have this concept that they need rice, a meat and vegetables. To me, that is total wastage. But if you can’t afford it, it’s ridiculous.
One dish, a hearty soup or a pasta, that's really enough. Families should start looking at eating within their means. Eating out is actually cheaper than buying groceries.
There is a way to eating in on a smaller budget, stretch a meal. A pasta, a curry, a cheap sardine is a stretched meal. You don’t have to go out and eat out every 2 days. They are eating beyond their means. If you can’t afford it, you have to re-adjust. Also think of your kids getting older, their appetites change.
You feel that Singaporeans' eating habits should be re-adjusted?
Yes, Singaporeans eat too much. There is late night supper at 10pm, my friends will ask me out for prata, but our stomachs are just not made to eat a big meal that late.
I detest eating late at night. Every time you see someone, you ask them, have they eaten, without really thinking about it. You know, I lived in Jakarta and I never saw wastage of food, people there are willing to take a handout.
Give someone here a second day meal, it would be considered rude. Whereas in other countries, it would be considered a gift.
Any final takeaways that you would like to add?
Education is important. We need to reach out to more Singaporeans and educate the young families. Campaigns like these are needed. The awareness of food wastage was brought to me by Electrolux and I did some food distribution as part of the campaign. You would be surprised what your heart feels like after this. I thought to myself: I’m blessed. I did something good today. Help the community, waste less.
The good people at Electrolux have teamed up with Food Bank Singapore to distribute food to the needy in Singapore with every photo or an empty plate posted on Instagram with the hashtag #happyplatesg.
Do your part this Christmas - waste less and take a photo of your empty plate!