After the big fat wedding is done with and the guests have gone home, what remains is the litter, dirty dishes and piles of excess high-calorie food.
Enough to feed lakhs of children, in a country where malnutrition has been termed a "national shame" by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Statistics show that every third malnourished child in the world is an Indian.
A survey shows that annually, Bangalore alone wastes 943 tonnes of quality food during weddings. "This is enough to feed 2.6 crore people a normal Indian meal," a study by a team of 10 professors from the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, has concluded. The team, under the guidance of UAS vice-chancellor K Narayana Gowda, surveyed 75 of Bangalore's 531 marriage halls over a period of six months.
"About 84,960 marriages are held at 531 kalyana mantapas (marriage halls) in Bangalore every year. About 943 tonnes of high-calorie quality food is wasted in these halls annually. At an average cost of Rs 40 per meal, the total food wastage in the city is estimated at Rs 339 crore," the study said.
On an average, 1,000 people attend a wedding where two meals are served - lunch at the wedding and dinner for reception, besides breakfast.
"About 10-20 items are served at a wedding ceremony. The maximum items served include 100 grams each of soup and juice, followed by 50 grams each of puri and pulao," the survey stated. It also concluded that rice and cereals were on top, making for 35% of the wastage.
"On an average, a typical wedding meal is very rich in energy. Each meal may have 1,239 calories, enough to meet an entire day's requirement of a child! The wastage per meal amounted to 20% at 246 calories," said Gowda.
"The survey sought to bring to light the criminal wastage of food during Indian weddings. Our aim is to create awareness and sensitize the public not to waste food. We found that food wastage was more with buffets than served meals," said professor PK Mandanna, of agricultural marketing, UAS.
The university has scheduled a brainstorming session on the issue at its GKVK campus on Saturday. Those interested can attend.
'Guests should be sensitized'
"Food wastage is a big concern during weddings. We need to create awareness among people and sensitize them against wasting food. Hosts must put placards with messages saying guests must not waste food and take only what they can consume. Nowadays, professionals serve food, which is working positively," says Vasan T, proprietor, Gowrishankar Mahal, west of Chord Road.
1,000 people attend an average marriage
Menu comprises two meals and breakfast
Each meal contains 1,239 calories
Avg cost of meal Rs 40
943 tonnes of high-calorie quality food wasted
Wasted food worth Rs 339 cr
22% food wasted in buffet system; 20% in served system
The next time you savour a wedding feast, spare a thought for the masses which go without two square meals a day. Especially children. At Indian weddings, where guests are plied with good food, there's always excess. This can be channelized to feed the poor, as some NGOs are already doing. Which goes to show there's enough to go around. India produces enough for its people, but the bulk of the food reaches those with purchasing power. It is the economics which needs to be balanced.
(Source: Times of India)