Why tackling food waste is so critical

Wasted food is a serious problem around the world as to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, ” Each year, 30 percent of global food production is lost after harvest or wasted in shops, households and catering services.”

This represents 750 billion USD in terms of producer or farmgate prices, going up to almost a trillion US dollars of trade value of food every year – half the GDP of Italy!If nature asked us to pay the total bill for food waste, it could charge society at least another 700 billion dollars a year. Because that wasted food still:

  • caused greenhouse gas emissions and climate change damages
  • used water for irrigation and increased water scarcity
  • cleared forests and eroded land
  • led to loss of pollinators, fishes and other biodiversity

Here is a nifty video that explains many things :

Treehugeer published an interesting article on how the reasons for such waste are not the same wether we are in the rich or poorer nations :

food-waste-by-global-region.jpg.650x0_q85_crop-smartData and graph from the World Resources Institute

Here is an extract from the Treehugger article :

In Europe, North America and Oceania, more than half of food waste happens at the final consumption phase. This suggests that consumer awareness and point-of-sale changes may be key to reducing food waste in these areas. Reforms to confusing “sell by” and “best by” dates may also help consumers in these countries eat more of the food that comes home from the store.

The picture is very different in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South East Asia, where more of the food waste happens early in the supply chain. National Geographic reportsthat 10 to 20 percent of grain in sub-Saharan Africa is ruined by mold, rats or insects. A lack of refrigeration makes it difficult to store dairy, fish and meats. This suggests the potential need for better infrastructure and also more support for farmers.


2 thoughts on “Why tackling food waste is so critical”

  1. Hello

    thank you for the great article. It as unbelievable to see how much food is going to waste for different reasons in different parts of the world.

    There is though a way to reduce at least the environmental impact of the food waste by recycling food waste and other organic waste.

    We are recycling all our organic household waste including our kitchen scraps with the help of compost worms which convert our off cuts and left overs into worm castings which are known to be one of the best soil conditioners and natural plant foods known to mankind.

    Worm composting is easy, fun, rewarding, reduces the pressures on our landfill sites, and can give valuable nutrients back to mother earth.

  2. Thanks Stephan for your insightful comment. I totally agree with you that composting is a solution for our food waste.

    But we have to decrease the huge amounts we waste as well. 😀

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