Humans throw away roughly 1 billion tonnes of waste food per year – yet 1 in 9 go hungry

Humans eat between 1-2kg of food per day, so each person consumes roughly 1.2 tonnes a year. That means that one billion tonnes of food could feed half of China or India or alternatively the next 3 biggest countries – the USA Indonesia and Pakistan.

Another way of thinking about it, is that if humanity ceased wasting food tomorrow, there would be enough to feed the whole planet completely.

Now there are many things that we as consumers can do, for instance by saving scraps for another meal, rather than throwing them away.

Estimates vary as to the amount of food waste that is down to consumers, from 20% up to 50% – however with proper planning, this can be reduced dramatically – this already varies significantly country to country, some countries have already undertaken successful efforts to deal with this problem.

Roughly 10% is lost on the farm – spoilt food, strange shaped vegetables among other reasons. Another 20% is lost in processing, presumably excluding more strange shaped vegetables as well as removing spoilt items. 4% is lost during transport and delivery – eating more local products would greatly reducing this problem, as it means it can go from farm to plate in hour rather than days or weeks. Another 10% is lost in retail – most of these because a product is not sold in time. It is very clear that this waste can be dramatically reduced – either by aggressive price cutting to move product before its too late, or indeed giving it away rather than throwing it away. I certainly feel, that supermarkets should be fined for throwing away too much good food. Many supermarkets have partnerships with local charities to distribute food to those in need, and these should be ramped up – putting rubbish in the bin should be a last resort. The last amount is lost in restaurants and hotels – here too, there needs to be creative pricing, to make sure that as little is thrown away as is possible..

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