Food wastage: the irony of global gluttony

Food industry and trade

Current methods of agricultural production and distribution account for almost a third of global food waste, and are unsustainable. In both developing and developed countries the bulk of foods wasted are the more nutritionally dense fresh fruits and vegetables, with heavily processed foods stored for increasingly longer periods. Equal responsibility lies with practitioners of unsustainable farming practices in developing countries as with irresponsible consumers in the developed world.

Summary: This paper builds on and updates an overview paper released by Future Directions International in 2011 on the topic of Global Food Losses and Waste, the result of a series of workshop discussion on the subject of ‘Global Food Supply and Demand to 2050’. Globally, between a third and a half of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, amounting to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year, according to the ‘Eat. Think. Save.’ initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme. According to a recent study released by the UK-based Institution of Medical Engineers, this figure increases up to half of all food purchased in Europe and the United States being thrown away without being consumed. The defining element of the problem is that food wastage occurs at all steps along the food supply chain, with the majority of food wastage in developing nations occurring during the production phase; conversely in developed nations, an average of around 100kg of food per person is wasted at the consumption phase. - See more at:

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