Over thirty per cent of the food that is produced globally for human consumption is either lost or wasted according to shocking new figures produced by the United Nations. The UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that this equates to roughly 1.3 billion tonnes every year.
Forty percent of food losses in the developing world happen after harvest, whilst being transported or stored, and during packing and processing. In developed countries, forty per cent of losses happen as a consequence of consumers and retailers disposing of unwanted but frequently entirely edible food.
Given that we live in an age where over a billion people are in a constant state of hunger and the water, energy and land resources needed to feed the worldwide population of seven billion are ever more limited, it is clear that food losses on this scale are a huge waste and represent a failure in our food system.
Each year developing countries lose over 150 million tonnes of grains. This is 6 times the volume required to address the hunger issue in the developing world. Meanwhile countries in the developed world waste over 220 million tonnes of food each year. The food industries in these counties have many tools on hand to reduce the likelihood of food spoiling. These include preservation and pasteurisation facilities, climate controlled storage, drying equipment, chemicals which extend shelf life and transport infrastructure.
The following have all be cited as examples of our negligent attitude towards food; throwing away less popular specifies of fish at sea, discarding farm produce that is cosmetically imperfect, and cooking or purchasing more food than is required in the home.
A spokesman for the Worldwatch Institute explained that the global economy is already seeing sharp increases in food prices as well as the early effects of climatic change on food production and, as a result, we shouldn’t ignore these obvious, lost cost methods of reducing food waste.