It is estimated that about one third of global food production is lost or wasted each year (averaging 1.3 billion tonnes) and that consumers in industrialised countries waste as much food as sub-Saharan African countries produce each year. Food waste is mainly a problem in industrialised countries. Food losses on the other hand, are more common in developing countries – often resulting from financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, inadequate storage and cooling facilities and infrastructure, and un-developed packaging and marketing systems.
The production of food along the supply chain (harvesting, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and merchandising) uses about one quarter of all habitable land and often requires large inputs of fresh water, energy, labor and fertilizers. Every time food is lost or wasted along the production and consumption system, a host of other valuable resources are therefore also wasted. Food waste and losses can also have serious environmental, social and economic impacts if not managed in a resource-efficient and responsible way – from polluting rivers, adding pressure on landfills, increasing methane emissions, loss of biodiversity as well as contributing towards climate change.
Given the rapidly growing global population and increasing food insecurity, hunger and loss of ecosystems and their services – we stand to lose a chance at a sustainable and food-secure future if we continue to be wasteful and inefficient in our dealings with food.
Think. Eat. Save: how you can help put an end to food waste
Luckily, consumer trends and behaviour are powerful forces in shifting production and consumption practices if they are widely supported. There are also a growing number of responsible and ethical food producers along the supply chain. If each of us commits to Think.Eat.Save, change is possible.
It is also important that all sectors involved in food supply chains improve management,...