The decline in food sharing is a worrying trend
Eating alone was initially considered odd, but it is now becoming more commonplace in the western world. Lots of fast-food chains are introducing ‘eat-on-the-go meals as opposed to sitting down and sharing a meal together. This trend has become worrisome as researchers found that eating alone can have a negative impact on health. Eating alone has been linked to several physical and mental health conditions. Some include diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure.
Will a food sharing initiative be enough to solve this problem?
Lots of food sharing initiatives have sprung up in recent times all over the world. The aim of these initiatives is to improve sustainability and food security while fighting loneliness. Why has eating together dropped drastically? Researchers say it is linked to the undervaluing of cooking or home-based labor. It is also attributed to the widening of the entire workforce to accommodate women in the workplace in the 20th century.
Another possible reason is the growth in inconsistent and insecure working patterns among the growing population. This may discourage communal eating generally. More people live alone and this doesn’t help as well. So loneliness is more widespread. Different social circles are also decreasing. The world has seen declines in political participation and volunteering, fewer donations to charity as well as little or no time for socializing. The food industry has seen these changes and has capitalized on it. Such solo dining suits the interest of the food industry. People now prefer to eat when they want no matter where they may be.
The food sharing initiatives should be celebrated for the collective actions that contribute towards achieving the goal. However, it is not enough. Things need to change starting from the way we govern food. The present agri-food system was set up to check the multinational corporations as well as private consumers. Research suggests that communities should be made more livable.