Purchase food in small quantities, avoid waste

Exercise restraint when shopping, especially during Ramadhan, because bulk buying of foodstuff results in huge wastage, a reliable source at Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) has said. According to a study conducted by the Sultan Qaboos University, food worth RO 54 million goes waste every year in the Sultanate. The source has advised against excessive shopping unless one has proper storage facility. “People buy foodstuff in bulk which results in a huge quantity of it being trashed,” said the source.

PACP often offers consumers advice on what they need to buy for short duration instead of stocking up supplies for the entire month. “Consumers should treat this matter seriously and realise how much they have lost (monetarily) due to bulk buying,” said the source. Mere checking of the expiry date on the packages isn’t enough as most homes lack the basic facilities for storing food commodities. “Storing food commodities is a major concern. High temperature is one of the main reasons why food gets damaged.” He said most homes have one or two refrigerators and that is not sufficient for properly storing foodstuff.

“The best practice is to buy foodstuff you need for a week while keeping in mind the capacity to store it in a proper manner. This will help save food as well as money,” said the source. Such a practice would mean one would have to go shopping four times in a month. But in the absence of proper storage facility, it’s the best option. Ahmed al Harthi, a resident based in Muscat, feels it is difficult for him to go shopping more than once in a month. “I and my family spend hours shopping besides long waits at the cash counter. I can’t find time to shop four times a week. I prefer throwing little perished food and saving time,” he said.

Al Harthi, however, said with more planning, he can overcome this problem. Mohammed al Balushi, another Muscat resident, prefers to shop when his household runs out of foodstuff. “I don’t go for bulk purchases. I find it healthier and wiser to shop every week.”

By Fahad al Ghadani