‘’We are 7 billion people on this planet, of which 925 million are starving. Yet we annually produce 1,3 billion tons of food waste – or enough to feed 3 billion people’’.
by Selina Juul, Founder of Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark.
Whenever consumers throw away ‘’fresh’’ food they exacerbate the situation of food wasting and its severe effect on the (global) market. The problem begins with the attitude towards consumption behavior in the industrialized countries. As long as consumers can buy more food it doesn’t really matter whether they trash it or not. However this is a popular misconception in our civilized world. We may live in a civilized and technologically advanced world but we behave primitively.
‘’The planet’s population has just reached 7 billion, of which almost 1 billion are starving. Yet, FAO estimates that more than 30% of the world’s food production ends up as garbage. That puts the annual food waste at a staggering 1.3 billion tons – or enough to feed 3 billion people. As we look at the climate perspective, it is estimated that 14% of the world’s CO2 emissions are caused by food waste alone’’. By Selina Juul
To be honest, compared to the food industry the consumers are the smaller culprit.
According the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) Gothenburg, Sweden, ‘’ (…) In medium- and high-income countries food is to a great extent wasted, meaning that it is thrown away even if it is still suitable for human consumption. Significant food loss and waste do, however, also occur early in the food supply chain. In low-income countries food is mainly lost during the early and middle stages of the food supply chain; much less food is wasted at the consumer level.’’
Figure two shows that the food wastage in industrialized countries is as high as in developing countries, but in developing countries more than 40% of the food wastage occurs after harvest and processing levels, while in industrialized countries, more than 40% of the food wastage occurs at retail and consumer levels.
The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) reports that: ‘’Food waste at consumer level in industrialized countries (222 million ton) is almost as high as the total net food production in sub-Saharan Africa (230 million ton).’’
In the industrialized world consumers could particularly change their throw away mentality to defuse the current situation. This mentality is absolutely unacceptable while millions of people are starving to death in poor countries. Unfortunately children are the most affected victims of this development. In this context Peter Feller, director of Germany’s Federation of Food and Drink Industries (BVE), said that one of the reasons Germans throw away so much food is quite simply that food is “too cheap.”
He wouldn’t throw it away!
(Made by: The Don: In Thought)
Finally the European Commission works out a new resolution to push for many waste-reducing measures, like less confusing date labeling on food packaging, a wider range of package sizes with perishables, and country-specific food-waste-prevention targets by 2014.
The stop wasting food movement argues that 14% of the world’s CO2 emissions are caused by food waste.
Thus the food waste isn’t just a question of economy or ethics but also a question of eco-friendliness. That’s for sure: The world’s population is steadily growing. If we don’t change our waste mentality then one day we won’t be able to satisfy even the hunger of our own children. The climate change will worsen the situation so that crop failures will happen more often in the future. Therefore food waste which seems to be an invisible problem today must become one of the main focus areas in the future.
What consumers can do
– Don’t buy more than you actually need.
– Prepare shopping lists
– Plan your purchase
– Cook the leftovers first
– Share food with neighbors
– Go never shopping with an empty stomach
– Don’t go shopping by car. Using a bike or walking forces you to buy less.
What retailers can do
– Selling last minute food by offering large discounts
– Dropping all quantity discounts (Many single people don’t need large quantity discounts and family-size portions)
– Food which can no longer be sold (still fresh food) can be donated to homeless charities or refugee centers.
I hope that I could convince you to stop wasting precious food. Sometimes it is inevitable to prevent food losses but very often consumers, retailers, suppliers and producers have possibilities to stop it. If we can change our mentality towards food wastage then we will save our money, the economy and maybe we can mitigate the famine in the Third World. Additionally the reduction of food waste can decrease CO2 emissions. By doing so, we will get a cleaner conscience regarding the current situation in the poor countries.