“The sharing of food is the basis of social life.”
Laurie Colwin, Author
Advantages & Disadvantages of Food Sharing
Food sharing (sometimes also referred to as foodsaving) is a concept that aims to reduce our overall food waste production. Through food sharing, people give away food they no longer need to other people. In turn, fewer groceries will be wasted and we can significantly increase the efficiency of our natural resource use.
Even though the concept of food sharing has many important advantages, there are still some issues related to it. The pros and cons of food sharing are discussed in the following.
Advantages of Food Sharing
- Food sharing can help us using our natural resources in a more efficient manner
- Food sharing can help to reduce our food waste
- People get more aware of the waste problem
- You can get a cleaner conscience through food sharing
- Food sharing gives you the opportunity to meet many like-minded people
- Food sharing can help to overcome poverty
- Fewer people have to suffer from hunger
- Food sharing can help to feed the homeless
- Food sharing is crucial to make our lifestyles more sustainable
- Technology makes food sharing quite simple
- Wasting food is not justifiable from an ethical perspective
- Grocery stores can help as well
- May improve the overall image of a company brand
- May provide additional employment opportunities
Food sharing can help us using our natural resources in a more efficient manner
One important advantage of food sharing is that it can help us to use our natural resources in a more efficient manner. Many of us throw away plenty of food over the course of the year and most of this food could have been used by other people instead of disposing of it into the garbage.
Our world population is growing at a rapid speed and if we continue to use our natural resources in this inefficient manner, chances are that many additional people all over the world will suffer from hunger and starvation in the future.
Hence, in order to feed as many people as possible, it is crucial that we use our natural resources in the most efficient manner. This also implies sharing food that we no longer need with other people.
Food sharing can help to reduce our food waste
Food sharing can also help us to reduce the overall food waste problem. Many private persons as well as grocery stores get rid of significant amounts of food in the long run and the majority of this food would still have been suitable for consumption purposes.
However, by disposing of this food, it will not only no longer be available for consumption, we also have to get rid of the related large amounts of food waste somehow.
While food waste could be used for composting purposes, the vast majority of food waste is just burned or ends up in landfills. However, this often implies significant air pollution, particle pollution, soil pollution as well as the emission of harmful greenhouse gases.
In turn, excessive food waste production can also contribute to worsening the global warming issue. Consequently, in order to protect our environment, we also should reduce the overall food waste production and sharing your food with other people instead of throwing it into the garbage can be a great way to do so.
People get more aware of the waste problem
Another benefit of food sharing is that people will get more aware of our overall waste problem in general. In fact, in our current state of the world, we consume excessive amounts of material goods on a constant basis. However, this is quite harmful to our environment since it implies significant resource depletion and getting rid of all of this waste implies several other environmental issues.
Thus, in order to protect our planet, it is crucial that everyone of us makes his or her contribution. This means that we should reduce our consumption levels and to avoid the production of waste whenever possible. You can make your positive contribution by engaging in food sharing since you can be a good role model for your neighbors as well as for your family and friends.
In turn, those people will also be more likely to engage in food sharing and therefore, you can multiply your positive impact from food sharing on our environment.
You can get a cleaner conscience through food sharing
Many people also feel quite guilty regarding their waste production since they know deep inside that they contribute to the destruction of our environment and that they worsen the prospects of future generations for a joyful life.
Hence, if you are one of those people who know deep inside that wasting food is a pretty bad idea and that there are better alternatives out there, why not engage in food sharing?!
You can make a positive contribution to our planet and can get a much cleaner conscience due to that, which in turn can greatly improve your overall quality of life.
Food sharing gives you the opportunity to meet many like-minded people
Food sharing has become quite popular over the past years in many countries all over the world. Hence, the food sharing networks expanded and you can meet many like-minded people in your neighborhood who share the same values.
Especially if you live in a big city, it should be quite easy to join a community of like-minded people who consider food sharing as a duty and a responsibility instead of something that is just a nice-to-have.
Over time, you may also be able to make really good friends in the food sharing community and you may also actively participate in foodsaving projects in the long run.
Food sharing can help to overcome poverty
Another upside of food sharing is that it can help us to overcome poverty in many countries all over the world. Especially in poor parts of our planet, people often don’t have enough food and struggle to get sufficient nutrient intake.
Hence, in those regions, it is especially important to make food sharing as efficient as possible so that poor people can get enough food and will have more power to work hard and to get out of poverty in the long run.
Fewer people have to suffer from hunger
In general, food sharing can also help to reduce the global hunger problem. Millions of people, especially in poor developing countries, still struggle to get enough food to survive. In fact, global hunger and starvation are the main causes of a quite low life expectancy in those countries.
Consequently, in order to provide more food for the general public in those countries, rich people should give away their food in case they no longer need it so that poor people who struggle to survive can use this food in the most efficient manner.
Food sharing can help to feed the homeless
Food sharing can also be especially beneficial for homeless people. Since they don’t have an income, homeless people often struggle to get enough food to survive. Hence, instead of just throwing your food in the garbage, you may want to give it away to homeless persons.
You will be surprised how thankful many of them will be and therefore, chances are that you will also feel much better since you know you did a good deed.
Food sharing is crucial to make our lifestyles more sustainable
Since our world population is growing at a rapid speed, we have to make our consumption behavior more sustainable in order to feed all those additional people. Thus, food sharing can also be crucial in this regard since we can use our natural resources in the most sustainable manner instead of just getting rid of our food by disposing of it into the trash bin.
Technology makes food sharing quite simple
Food sharing has also become quite easy thanks to our technological progress. In fact, the internet made it quite easy to install food sharing services and to provide the general public with platforms that they can use to coordinate food sharing actions. In general, the internet and social media are crucial to promote the concept of food sharing and to make it more popular across the general public.
The more people use food sharing, the bigger the positive impact on our environment. Hence, make sure that you not only use those food-sharing platforms, but that you also share those websites over social media in order to convince others and to multiply your positive impact on our planet.
Wasting food is not justifiable from an ethical perspective
Food sharing can also make quite a lot of sense from an ethical perspective. Millions of people all over the world still die from hunger and starvation every year. In this context, it seems not to be justifiable to dispose of our food in case it is still eatable.
Hence, if you do no longer want to eat your food, you may list it on food sharing platforms instead of just throwing it into the garbage can also from an ethical point of few.
Grocery stores can help as well
Food sharing is not only important for private persons, it can also make quite a lot of sense for companies and grocery stores. In fact, large amounts of food from grocery stores end up in the garbage cans instead of on our plates. However, this food could be used in a much better manner through food sharing and many people would have been thankful if they got this food.
Therefore, it should also be the responsibility of grocery stores to give away the food they no longer want to sell to food sharing organizations. In turn, many poor people could profit from this and would no longer have to suffer from serious hunger.
May improve the overall image of a company brand
Grocery stores should not only feel obliged to give away food they no longer want to sell to food sharing organizations from an ethical perspective, these stores can also profit from food sharing in the long run.
In fact, those grocery stores can communicate that they support food sharing initiatives to the general public, which can strengthen their brand and people will be more eager to buy from those stores.
Hence, food sharing can also give companies the chance to improve their overall public image, which can give those companies a competitive advantage in the long run.
May provide additional employment opportunities
Since plenty of manual work is required in the food sharing business, there may also be additional employment opportunities related to this concept. Thus, food sharing can also create numerous jobs in many countries.
While those jobs may not pay well, they still provide people who have no other job opportunities with a feeling that they are needed in our society, which can help those people quite a lot to feel like valuable members of society.
In fact, it will be much more beneficial for those unemployed people to work in food sharing jobs instead of just sitting at home and having no purpose in life.
Disadvantages of Food Sharing
- Food sharing takes some time
- Organization efforts related to food sharing
- You don’t know who shows up at your door
- You have to be flexible
- Some people may consider food sharing as dodgy
- Legal issues related to foodsharing
- Some foods may be of quite bad quality
- Potential health issues related to food sharing
- May be misused by thieves
- Privacy concerns related to foodsharing
- May lower profits of grocery stores
- Many people still ignore this concept
Food sharing takes some time
While there are numerous important advantages of foodsharing, there are still some problems related to this concept. For instance, one downside of food sharing is that it simply takes some time. You have to list the food that you no longer need on food sharing platforms on a constant basis.
Moreover, you also have to coordinate when the pickup of your food will be possible. In turn, this can add up to significant time you will need to spend over the course of the year.
Organization efforts related to food sharing
Since you have to coordinate the food pickups, you will also have to put in some organizational efforts. Moreover, people in our nowadays are often rather unreliable and may pick up the food at your home later than expected. In turn, you may have to wait for additional time that you can’t use for your hobbies outdoors.
Consequently, there are also some efforts involved in the food sharing process and you should make sure that you are willing to take those efforts before deciding to engage in the food sharing community.
You don’t know who shows up at your door
Another problem with food sharing is that you simply don’t know who shows up at your door. While the majority of the people who belong to the food sharing community are trustworthy, there might be a minority of people who are rather dodgy and with whom you might not want to have any contact at all.
Therefore, you may have to deal with rather dodgy people from time to time and you should make sure that you learn to handle those situations in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
You have to be flexible
You also have to be rather flexible regarding your food supply when you rely on food sharing as your primary food source. In general, the variety of different foods that people will offer can be quite limited and you may not be able to get your favorite foods every day.
Hence, if you want to rely on the food from food sharing, make sure that you are rather flexible regarding which foods you want to eat in order not to be disappointed if your favorite food is not available.
Some people may consider food sharing as dodgy
While food sharing has become increasingly popular in many countries all over the world, there are still many regions where food sharing is considered to be rather dodgy and not in line with the local social norms and cultural values.
Thus, if you live in one of those regions where food sharing is still not accepted, you may have a quite hard time since there will not be too many food sharing communities around.
Moreover, you may even get socially excluded if you spread the idea of food sharing in rather conservative parts of our planet.
Legal issues related to foodsharing
In many countries, there are also legal restrictions that prevent the expansion of food sharing activities in a serious manner. For instance, there are often rules and regulations in place that aim to protect the general public against potential health problems from food sharing. While the idea behind this concept is reasonable, there are still many foods that do not pose any danger at all, even if they are a little bit older.
For instance, canned food often has a shelf-life of many years and if this sort of food is not available for food sharing due to various legal restrictions, this can lead to significant unnecessary food waste.
Thus, governments around the world should make sure that they only prohibit food sharing in the rare occasions where the health of people is really threatened, which most often is not the case at all.
Some foods may be of quite bad quality
Another disadvantage of food sharing is that the quality of food from food sharing often greatly varies. While you might be lucky one day, you may only get quite poor-quality food the next day.
Hence, you can never be sure what food quality you can expect and therefore, if you rely on food sharing, chances are that you will also be disappointed quite often regarding the overall quality of food you will get.
Potential health issues related to food sharing
Some people may also offer food that is already rather old. Especially for sensitive food products like fish and other foods that only have a quite limited shelf-life, this can result in serious health issues for customers. Thus, make sure that you don’t rely on food sharing for those kinds of foods too much in order to avoid those potential serious health issues.
May be misused by thieves
While the majority of people in the food sharing community are quite honest and trustworthy people, there are also some people out there who try to misuse the concept of food sharing for their own purposes. There are even cases where people report that they got robbed by people who claimed to be part of the food sharing community.
Consequently, if you want to engage in food sharing, make sure that you don’t let anyone in your house in order to protect yourself against those sorts of issues.
Privacy concerns related to foodsharing
Food sharing can also be problematic in terms of privacy concerns. Food sharing is often organized through the use of an app. However, those apps often collect sensitive data of people and those people often don’t know for what purposes this data will be used for. Hence, if you are a person who is rather sensitive to privacy issues, chances are that food sharing will not be for you.
May lower profits of grocery stores
While food sharing can help to strengthen the brand of grocery stores, it may also lower their profits at the same time. For instance, if people know that they will get plenty of food for free every day, they may simply no longer want to spend money buying this food.
Many people still ignore this concept
Many people in our current state of the world also simply don’t want to take the time and effort for food sharing. However, since food sharing becomes more effective the more people join this movement, the lack of motivation of people can greatly slow down the expansion process of food sharing.
Top 10 Food Sharing Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Food Sharing Pros||Food Sharing Cons|
|Food sharing can reduce food waste||Food sharing takes some effort|
|Can make our resource use more efficient||Sharing food can be time-consuming|
|Food sharing can increase awareness of people||You may meet some dodgy people|
|You can convince your family and friends||Food sharing can reduce your level of flexibility|
|Food sharing can give you a cleaner conscience||Privacy issues related to food sharing apps|
|Can help the homeless||Some people still consider foodsharing as dodgy|
|Food sharing can help to reduce poverty||Thieves may become a problem|
|You can meet like-minded people||Potential health issues of food sharing|
|Can help to strengthen the brand of companies||You don’t know if people show up in time|
|Additional employment opportunities||Food may be of rather bad quality|
Should You Use Food Sharing?
As we have seen before, there are many important advantages and disadvantages of food sharing. In my opinion, the pros of foodsharing outweigh the cons and in case you have food you no longer need, you may want to make it available for food sharing so that other people can benefit from it.
However, also make sure that you don’t buy too much food in general in order to further minimize your food waste production.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
Wanna make a contribution to save our environment? Share it!