Research shows that 1.2 to 2 billion tonnes of food are wasted each year. Shockingly, this means that it could be possible that as much as half of all food produced in the world is wasted.
As the Institute of Mechanical Engineers reports:
“Today, we produce about four billion metric tones of food per annum. Yet due to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as market and consumer wastage, it is estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced never reaches a human stomach.”
“Furthermore, this figure does not reflect the fact that large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers and water have also been lost in the production of foodstuffs which simply end up as waste.
“This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands.”
The report claims that such a high amount of waste are for the following reasons:
“The primary cause of this wastage is inadequate engineering and agricultural practice knowledge, deficiencies in management skills, poorly engineered infrastructure in the form of electricity and potable water systems, and storage and transport facilities which are often not fit for purpose.
“Further wastage results from the commercial practices of modern supermarkets that demand cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encourage the more-affluent consumers to purchase excessive quantities.”
The huge levels of wasted food go alongside the high number of people around the world who go hungry each year.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations 870 million people endured chronic undernourishment between 2010 and 2012. This means that 12.5 % of the world’s population does not get enough core nutrients.
As Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the IME, has said:
“The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.”