Environment Magazine

Facts About Global Food Waste

Posted on the 08 July 2011 by Azanimals @azanimals

 Rice Fields It is estimated that by 2050 there could be up to 9 billion people on the planet and one of the biggest concerns to us now, is how we are going to provide enough food to sustain such a rapidly growing population. However, with nearly a billion people thought to be hungry around the world today, a solution is becoming even more critical.

According to a report released by the FAO in May, around one third of the food produced for consumption is either lost or wasted from field to fork every year. Out of the roughly 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted annually, the majority is on a consumer level in rich countries, but in poorer places, it is down to inefficiencies within the supply chain.

The biggest problem in the western world is that more needs to be done from consumers to ensure that they are not buying more food than they need and therefore don't throw quite so much away. Following, are some of the more shocking food waste facts:

The Average European or North American consumer wastes up to 115kg of food a year, more than 10 times more than in south-east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. More than 8 million hectares of land is needed to produce just the wasted meat and dairy products in households, shops and restaurants in the UK and the USA. The average UK household wastes around 25% of all the food bought and up to 35% of all school lunches end up in the bin. The 220 million tonnes of food wasted in rich countries is almost equal to the 230 million tonnes of food produced in sub-Saharan Africa.

Up to 40% of fruit and vegetables are rejected by the supermarkets before they even reach the shelves because they are not "perfect". Around 2.3 million tonnes of fish are discarded into the North Atlantic and the North Sea every year, which is up to 60% of the fish caught in Europe. With an estimated 4 million people living in poverty in the UK alone already, the World Bank is worried that rising food prices could affect millions more around the world.

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