We know that the demands for food production on the environment are detrimental and unsustainable. To make matter worse, there are still millions of people around the globe who do not have access to enough food. With a projected population of 9.6 billion by 2050; the way that we produce and consume food has never been more important for people and our planet.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, estimates that around 795 million people out of the 7.3 billion people in the world, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016. That’s about one in nine people on earth not having enough food to lead a healthy active life; with 3.1 million children dying due to malnutrition every year.
To make matters even worse, the amount of food that goes to waste is reprehensible; roughly 1/3 of global food production – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes a year – gets lost or wasted! The carbon footprint of this wastage is estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere per year. The total volume of water used each year to produce food that is never eaten is 250km3, equivalent to three times the volume of Lake Geneva.
Similarly, 28% of the world’s agricultural land is used annually to produce food that is never used. The consumption of natural resources for produce which primarily ends up in landfills is shameful; not to mention the economic consequences of food waste running into the billions, over £6 billion a year!
Unfortunately food waste occurs across the whole of the supply chain, as a result of extreme weather, pests and disease, water shortages, poor agricultural practices, animal mortality rates, inefficient harvesting, poor storage and transport, over-production, changes in produce demands, poor handling, high retail grading standards etc.
Yet a lot of food is also wasted at home, because of unwanted leftovers, partially used food, food that has passed its use by date or best before date, over shopping, change of dinner plans, etc. But let’s be food smart and cut back on food waste; not only will it benefit our environment, it will also save you money.