Waste Not, Want Not: Solving the Global Food Crisis

pic3Ever find yourself throwing out last week’s groceries, or only finishing half your meal? You are not alone. According to the latest research from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), roughly 1/3 of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. This amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes of food or 57% of all the calories harvested each year.

The magnitude and cause of the problem vary by region. In the developing world, per capita food waste equates to 6 – 11 kg/year. Most of this waste occurs at the start of the supply chain due to inefficient harvesting, inadequate local transportation, and poor infrastructure (e.g. a lack of refrigerating facilities). In the developed world, however, per capita waste equates to a shocking 95 – 115 kg/year. Waste occurs primarily at the end of the supply chain, as supermarkets “often reject entire crops of perfectly edible fruit and vegetables…because they do not meet exacting marketing standards”. Consumers also purchase “excessive quantities” of perishable foods and dispose of food early due to “confusing” food labels.

The human impact of such waste is considerable. After all, about 1 billion people globally (or 1 in 7) continue to suffer from malnutrition or starvation. According to the Feeding 5000 Campaign, the vast quantity of wasted food “would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them”.

But “wasting food means losing not only life-supporting nutrition”. It also mean losing “precious resources, including land, water and energy”. In fact, producing wasted food requires 28% of global farmland – approximately the size of Mexico. It uses enough freshwater to meet the domestic needs of 9 billion people (200L each/day). Furthermore, since each calorie of food takes an average of 7 – 10 calories to produce, it consumes a significant portion of the global energy budget. This, in turn, generates 6-10% of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to “to unnecessary global warming”.

To compound the problem, the United Nations projects that the global population will reach 9.5 billion by 2075 (based on mid-range forecasts). This represents over 2 billion more mouths to feed. Furthermore, “substantial changes are anticipated in the wealth, calorific intake, and dietary preferences of people in developing countries”. Hence, the demand for food—particularly resource intensive food like meat—is expected to increase.

Fortunately, awareness of global food waste is also growing and key players are starting to act. The United Nations, for example, has launched the Think.Eat.Save program, which works to galvanize global action and exchange ideas. Farmers are donating “edible but imperfect-looking” crops to local food charities, such as City Harvest. Food processors are finding innovative ways to salvage previously rejected foods, such as “making baby carrots out of carrots too bent to meet retail standards”. And grocery stores like Waitrose and Sainsbury are cutting the prices of expiring goods, donating leftovers to charities, and sending remaining food waste to bio-plants for electricity generation.

Such efforts offer real hope of solving the global food problem. In fact, the United Nations reports that “cutting the rate of food loss and waste in half by 2050 would close 20% of the (expected) food gap.”

To learn more about the food waste problem, please click here. To help reduce hunger, please donate to one of our partner food banks: Friends of Saint Joseph’s Food Pantry, Operation: Sack Lunch, the Oregon Food Bank, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, the Vermont Food Bank, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

Flickr photo credit: Kabsic Park


$200 Sweepstakes for people living in the Seacoast New Hampshire Region

new hampshireOp4G has an interesting Music and Arts survey now available for people living in the Seacoast New Hampshire Region.  The survey pays $2.00 per completion.  In addition, each person who completes the survey will be eligible for a one time $200 sweepstakes.  To get started, just enter the survey here.

If you qualify and complete today’s study you will be entered into a prize drawing for a $200 Visa Gift Card. Op4G will administer the prize drawing. The winner will receive notice shortly after the study closes. An email address needs to be provided in order to be eligible for the prize drawing. Your email address will be stored securely by Op4G and will NOT be made available to any third party marketers. Thanks in advance for your participation.

Flickr Photo Credit


Op4G’s Member of the Month: Laura Varon Brown!

Op4G’s Member of the Month is Laura Varon Brown, Executive Director of Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit!

Laura joined the Op4G panel in 2013 to earn additional funds for Gilda’s Club. As Executive Director, she knew the Club would use the funds to deliver essential support programs to individuals and families facing cancer.

Reflecting on the Op4G model, Laura describes it as a “seamless” way to engage in philanthropy. She also praises Op4G’s screening process, which ensures that she only completes surveys for which she qualifies. Finally, she hails the flexibility of Op4G, allowing her to complete surveys at her convenience.

But Laura isn’t the only Op4G champion at Gilda’s Club. Her social media and development staff are also members and frequently encourage Club supporters to register. As a result, Gilda’s Club has earned over $837 through Op4G!

Congratulations Laura and Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit!

Sweepstakes Winner Member of the Month: Carolyn Horner!

BBBS Lone Star Member of the MonthCarolyn Horner has another reason to smile this month. Her name was randomly selected from our screenout pool, winning $500 for her non-profit, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Lone Star!

Carolyn has volunteered for BBBS Lone Star for 3 years. She greatly enjoys spending one-on-one time with the children, helping fulfill their individual needs, and getting to know their families. But in May 2012, she discovered another way to support BBBS Lone Star: Op4G.

Since joining, Carolyn has completed numerous Op4G surveys. As the surveys are “relevant” to her, she has enjoyed every minute. She has also raised approximately $20 for BBBS Lone Star!

Based on this experience, Carolyn has encouraged other non-profits to register for Op4G. In particular, she has reached out to the North Texas Food Bank and the Paralyzed Vets of America, as her father is a veteran.

Congratulations Carolyn Horner and the BBBS Lone Star!

Op4G Member Payments Have Been Processed

We’d like to remind everyone that all Op4G member payments have been processed for Quarter Number Three. As always, payments from Op4G are sent via Bill.com and will arrive approximately 6 days after processing. Thank you to all our members who have participated throughout the year to support expanded funding to Non-Profits. We value the partnership we have with you and all of our 380+ Non-Profit organizations, as well as this unique model for “giving back”.

As we continue to improve and grow, please send us your comments and feedback.

Thanks again from the Op4G Team.

The ABCs of Survey Taking with Op4G for your Non-Profit

As our Non-Profit partners can attest, quarterly donations from Op4G are a great supplement to an organization’s operating revenue.  While our program is free and simple to implement, we do get a few common questions from members from time to time.  Keeping these three basic concepts in your back pocket can help ensure continued success for your cause.

The ABCs of Survey Taking and Op4G Research:

A)     Members/donors will not qualify for every survey they are invited to.  But, that’s okay! Through interviewing our most active members we have found that on average, members will likely qualify for approximately 1 out of every 3 surveys they attempt.  The best way to avoid not qualifying is to respond to an email invite right away and also to complete your demographic profiling questions found in your MyOp4G account.

B)      There are a couple ways members could be cut off from any given survey after answering a few questions.  One is if a specific quota has been exhausted (e.g., males, age 35 to 45, from a specific postal code).  You could also be screened out if you don’t fit the specific target needed for the research goal.  Good research seeks to maximize reliability/validity. Accordingly, we aren’t allowed to “telegraph” the specific needs within a given survey.  This is the reason “screener questions” are asked at the beginning.  Our goal in working with clients is to keep the screener as brief as possible to avoid survey fatigue.

C)      The best way to avoid having invites going to the spam folder is to add “Op4G Support – support@op4g.com” to your email contacts.  ISPs receive a massive number of “survey” type emails on a daily basis and most of those ISPs automatically flag them to be delivered to junk folders.   We work with a top email delivery service provider to avoid this as much as possible, but it’s an on-going battle.

Send these ABCs around to your members and watch your Op4G program take off!

Op4G Becomes TRUSTe Certified

Op4G Truste CertifiedRecently Op4G was awarded the TRUSTe Certified Privacy Seal for our privacy and data governance practices. TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across web, mobile, cloud and advertising channels. TRUSTe ensures businesses adhere to best practices regarding the collection and use of personal information on their websites and apps. If you see the TRUSTe Certified Privacy Seal on a website or app, the company operating that property has met the comprehensive privacy certification requirements established by TRUSTe as well as the requirements for the Federal Trade Commission enforced Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

But what does it all mean to our Members, Non-Profits, and Market Research Clients? It means that the Op4G privacy practices and data safeguards have been reviewed by an independent third party and have been approved based on the guidelines set forth by TRUSTe for transparency, accountability and choice regarding collection and use of consumer personal information.  It also means that all of our “Digital Volunteers” can feel safe and confident while participating in the Op4G community to benefit their chosen Non-Profit.



Op4G Member of the Month: Laura Parcells!

Laura Parcells Member of the MonthLaura Parcells is Op4G’s member of the month! Thanks to her token, which was randomly drawn from our screen-out pool, Tree House Humane Society is our $500 sweepstakes winner!

Laura has been passionate about animals since her youth, when she remembers “needle pointing a pillow for one of her cats”. As a result, she began supporting the Tree House Humane Society in 1975. She chose Tree House because of their work for special needs cats, as well as their no-kill policy. Though she has since moved to Minnesota, she continues to donate to Tree House and toured their facility last time she visited Chicago.

Laura became an Op4G panelist in 2011, after learning of Op4G through a Tree House newsletter. Since then, she has consistently completed Op4G surveys for Tree House. She enjoys completing surveys, as well as raising funds for her nonprofit. She also appreciates the Op4G model which, unlike other market research panels, offers automatic cash outs and allows you to donate directly to your non-profit of choice.

In fact, Laura likes Op4G so much that she referred it to her sister, Julie, in Oregon. Julie serves on two non-profit boards and was able to register Hands on Greater Portland as an Op4G partner.

Congratulations, Laura!

A Big Thanks and Congrats Go Out to Ashley Dowling-Cloud!

Member SweepstakesOur Op4G sweepstakes winner for August is…Ashley Dowling-Cloud! Ashley supports Transformations Autism Treatment Center in Bartlett, TN, making them our “Non-Profit of the Month”!

Ashley joined Op4G 8 months ago after hearing about us from Transformations.  Since joining, Ashley has earned about $70 for Transformations.  Ashley likes how the Op4G website is set up and feels it is “very easy to use and understand”.  She is an active member and “enjoys the surveys” that she has been invited to and participated in.  Ashley has qualified for “almost all” that she has been selected for.

Ashley selected Transformations as her Op4G non-profit because that is the center that her autistic son attends each week for ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy.  She is both a volunteer and a parent of the center which she “loves doing”.  Transformations Autism Treatment Center helps the community by providing “the one therapy within our area that is extremely hard to get for a child who has autism”.  In addition, they provide services for parents and “don’t turn their backs on autism”.

Ashley plans to continue taking Op4G surveys for Transformations, noting that “every little bit helps”. Since Ashley also volunteers at Transformations helping out in the front office, she is confident that she can help recruit additional supporters to sign up for the Op4G panel and participate in surveys.

Thank you, Ashley, and congratulations from Op4G!

Welcome Canadian Members and Non-Profits!

canadaO Canada! This month, Op4G is welcoming Canadian members and non-profits, from the mountains of British Columbia to the shores of Nova Scotia.

As Canada has over 35 million residents, Op4G’s aim is to significantly increasing its partner- and membership base. This, in turn, will allow for better targeting and survey completion success. More importantly, it will raise greater funds than ever for North American charities.

Currently, Canadian members have the option of donating their Op4G earnings to Canada Cares, a non-profit that celebrates and recognizes caregivers across Canada. Options will grow, however, as Op4G adds new Canadian partners.

So if you have friends or family north of the border, please inform them of Op4G and ask them to register with us today!  Also, if you know a Canadian non-profit, please refer them through here.

Flickr photo credit: palindrome6996