Five Films on Food Waste and Hunger That You Should Be Watching

Searching for good documentaries can be overwhelming. The abundance of options can lead to you perusing Netflix for hours, fruitlessly debating which film to actually watch. Luckily, we’ve combed the internet for you and created a list of five food-related documentaries we think are worth your time, based on online reviews. Whether you’re a foodie looking to learn more about food production, a student seeking to reduce food waste on campus, or a Food Recovery Network supporter, these films — which discuss food waste, food insecurity, and food production — are bound to contribute to your knowledge base. So grab some (sustainably-produced) popcorn and start watching!

1. “Wasted!”  

Directed by Anna Chai and Nari Kye and released in October 2018, “Wasted!” seeks to "change the way people buy cook, recycle, and eat food,” according to the film’s website.

The film shows how chefs repurpose food that would otherwise be thrown out to create delicious dishes. Once you learn how our current practices surrounding food production and food waste contribute to climate change, you’re bound to be inspired to adopt more sustainable practices. “Wasted!” is “surprisingly appetizing and funny...for a movie that harangues us for throwing out edible food,” according to a Rotten Tomatoes review. It is available for rent on Amazon.

2. “A Place at the Table” 

This documentary, directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, focuses on the plights of three food-insecure Americans. It walks you through their days and emphasizes struggles they face during mealtimes. According to the film, one out of every two American kids will be on food assistance at some point, and about 50 million Americans rely on charitable food programs. “A Place at the Table” highlights that issues caused by hunger can be alleviated if Americans recognize that ending hunger should be a priority. The film, which is available for rent on Amazon, is “a shocking indictment of how people are starving in the land of plenty,” according to a Rotten Tomatoes review.

3. “How to Feed the World” 

Looking for a short film that sums up many of the problems relating to food access and food insecurity that we are currently facing? “How to Feed the World,” directed by Denis van Waerebeke, should be on your list. The 10-minute film, which was originally created for viewers between ages nine and 14 and can be viewed for free on Vimeo, uses colorful graphics to explain how globalization and trade influence which foods are available in different regions of the globe. Though distributing food to malnourished people in poorer countries may help temporarily, this act can actually cause more harm to local economies,  perpetuating further problems, the film argues. “How to Feed the World” urges members of Earth to work together to eat more sustainably to create a lasting solution. It recommends for individuals to make a difference by eating more plant-based products.

4. “Taste the Waste”  

Are you having a hard time picturing how much food goes to waste? “Taste the Waste,” directed by Valentin Thurn, will provide you with a more complete understanding of the quantity of food being thrown away, much of which is still edible. 90 million tons of food are thrown away in the European Union per year, including 3 million tons of bread, according to the film. The camera pans over dumpsters filled with “old” bakery items and trucks bursting with “insufficient” vegetables. It describes how technology is used to discard tomatoes solely based on their colors, and explains how “the food thrown away in Europe and North America would be enough to feed all hungry people in the world three times over.” “Taste the Waste,” which you can watch on YouTube, is a testament to how much good food is actually being wasted, and perhaps inspiration to be more mindful before discarding “bad” food.

5. “Just Eat It” 

What do you get when two filmmakers, Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin, realize the consequences of food waste? A documentary that details our “systematic obsession with expiry dates, perfect produce, and portion sizes,” according to the film’s website. “Just Eat It” tracks Rustemeyer and Baldwin’s lives as they survive off foods that were designated for the trash. This film, which is funny and entertaining in addition to being an “eye-opener,” according to reviews, will likely make you reconsider how you examine produce in the grocery store. “Just Eat It” is available for rent on Amazon and YouTube. Additionally, Rustemeyer was the keynote speaker at FRN’s National Food Recovery Dialogue – another reason to watch this incredible film!

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