The wasteful dragon: food loss and waste in China

Food security Agriculture China

Food loss and waste undermines food security and addressing it can provide economic, social and environmental benefits. Food is lost or wasted at each stage of the Chinese food supply chain but, as with other middle-income countries, more food is beginning to be wasted in the consumption stage. Implementing legislative and regulatory changes will help to address food loss and waste but, more importantly, efforts to alter cultural attitudes towards food will also need to occur if food loss and waste is to be effectively minimised.

Key points

  • China loses or wastes at least six per cent of the food that it produces.
  • Reducing lost and wasted food would help to reduce undernourishment, generate positive economic results for retailers and consumers and ameliorate environmental pressures.
  • Mechanisation, access to secure food storage facilities and improved transport logistics will help to reduce food loss, while changing cultural attitudes to food waste will help to limit the amount of food thrown away.
  • Implementing modern solid waste management principles, such as the sorting of household waste, will help to ensure that unavoidable food waste is put to good use.
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