The Great Food Waste


502155430_ca46611dde_zFood waste is a major cause of world hunger. According to the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), about 1.3 billion tons of food, equivalent to one third of world food production, are wasted each year. This volume amounts to more than half of global cereal production (2.3 billion tons in 2009-2010), while more than one billion people suffer from hunger.

Industrialized and developing countries are wasting roughly the same amounts of food, respectively 670 million and 630 million tons, but for different reasons. In developing countries, major food losses occur at various stages of production: harvesting, post-harvest and processing. This is mainly due to poor infrastructure and outdated technology. In industrial countries, food waste is too often the result of retailers and consumers throwing away perfectly edible food in the trash bin. In Europe and North America, every consumer consumer wastes between 95 and 115 kg of food annually.

Change Habits To Cut Food Waste:

Loss and waste of food is squandering our resources: water, land, energy and labor. The FAO proposes the strengthening of the food supply chain in developing countries through facilitating direct farmer access to buyers. According to it, the private and public sectors should also invest more in infrastructure, transportation, processing and packaging.

urlWith regards to industrial countries, the FAO blame the quality standards which exaggerate the importance of external aspect resulting in large amounts of food. It urges consumers who are willing to buy products whose appearance is not completely consistent with the standards provided they are safe and good to exert their influence to change those standards. Another suggestion is the direct sale of farm products to consumers, thus avoiding compliance with the standards of supermarkets, and the use by charitable organizations of commercial products for the trash bun but still acceptable in terms of safety, taste and nutritional value.

Consumerism should stop. Consumers should not be lured into purchasing more food than they need. Promotions like “three for the price of two”, over-dimensioned convenience food or fixed price buffets which push the client to fill his plate.

It is also unacceptable to throw away food that could have been eaten into the trash bin.

The Greatest Waste Of All: Meat Production:

America is a nation of meat eaters (as are several developed countries). In 2007, on average an American was consuming approximately 43kg of chicken, 33kg of beef, 25kg of pork and 8kg of turkey (a total of 124kg excluding veal and lamb). In 1950 those figures were approximately 22, 10, 32, and 1.5 (a total of 73 including veal and lamb). An increase of approximately 70 %!

It is estimated that if Americans eat 10% less meat, that would be sufficient to eradicate malnutrition on Earth.

However, although those figures are shocking, there are worse meat eaters on Earth: Denmark with a shocking 150kg per person in 2007.

Furthermore, increased meat-eating has followed rising affluence in many parts of the world. China’s levels doubled between 1990 and 2002. In 1961, the Chinese consumed a mere 3.6kg per person, while in 2002 they reached 52.4kg each; more than half of the world’s pork is now consumed in China.