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Saudi could fine restaurant goers under food waste law

Saudi could fine restaurant goers under food waste law

The kingdom wastes more food than any other country, according to a government report

Saudi Arabia’s consultative Shoura Council will this month discuss a food waste law that could see individuals charged for leaving unfinished plates in restaurants

The plans follow a report from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture suggesting the kingdom wastes more food than any other country in the world.

The ministry said 30 per cent of food produced in Saudi Arabia is wasted, worth around SAR49bn ($13bn) a year.

In addition, the average Saudi wastes 250kg of food annually compared to a global average of 150kg.

Waste is known to be particularly high during the current holy month of Ramadan where leftovers from extravagant iftars are often thrown away.

Societal pressures to impress guests with extravagant food offerings have also led to excessive waste in the country year-round.

The food waste law, set to be discussed by the Shoura Council, would see individuals and organisations fined for excessive waste.

Other potential measures include a fee for restaurant goers that leave unfinished plates of food.

The council’s social affairs committee has also proposed the establishment of a national centre to offer guidance and awareness on food waste.

A similar campaign in recent months has sought to increase energy efficiency and encourage Saudis to turn off appliances when they aren’t in use.

Dubai-based investment bank Alpen Capital said in a report released last year that food consumption in the Gulf region would growth 4.5 per cent annually in the coming years from 48.1 million metric tonnes in 2016 to 59.2 million in 2021.

Food consumption in Saudi is expected to grow 4.2 per cent to 37.7 million metric tonnes.

Read: Gulf food consumption to grow 4.2% annually to 2021 – Alpen

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