So much food going to waste

Estimates from the United Nations put the current world population at 7.3 billion and expect it to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. The question is how to produce sufficient food for everyone?

But what about food wastage? The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that each year, approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. This one third of food wasted amounts to 1.3 billion tons. It represents a missed opportunity to improve global food security.

In developing countries there are high levels of what is known as “food loss”, which is unintentional wastage, often due to poor equipment, transportation and infrastructure. In developing countries 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels.

In wealthy countries, there are low levels of unintentional losses but high levels of “food waste”, which involves food being thrown away by consumers because they have purchased too much, or by retailers who reject food because of exacting aesthetic standards. In industrialized countries more than 40% of losses happen at retail and consumer levels.

The reports that food losses and waste amounts to roughly $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries. Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers accounts for the highest wastage rates of any food. Global quantitative food losses and waste per year are roughly 30% for cereals, 40-50% for root crops, fruits and vegetables, 20% for oil seeds, meat and dairy plus 35% for fish.

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