Why food waste is a global problem

“Food waste” refers to food appropriate for human consumption being discarded, whether or not after it is kept beyond its expiry date or left to spoil. 30 % to 35 % of global food resources are not consumed by mankind. This means, that resources worth over 1 trillion $ are thrown away, which indicates a high level of inefficiency within the food industry, especially if we compare it to other sectors.

While 800 million humans go hungry to bed every night and are strongly limited in their nutritional intake, not even speaking of their access to fresh and high- quality food, each of them could be sufficiently fed on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the USA, UK and Europe each year. With globalization and, thus, globally ongoing changes, the food supply system changed, which had a huge impact on price politics and price developments.
The existing demand for food in the West can potentially drive up the price of nutritional goods grown for export in developing countries. This also displaces the necessary growth of crops to feed native populations and drives accelerated degradation of natural habitats.
Furthermore, hunger is not an issue which people are dealing with “somewhere”, pointing out the UK, where over 1 million inhabitants accessed a food bank last year, as well as the US, where millions of people are suffering from food poverty.

However, this moral aspect is representing only one side of the problem. Facing an environmental crisis and dealing with corresponding issues, food waste is a huge part of this problem. It would take an additional land in the size of China to regrow the food each year, which is ultimately never eaten and thrown away.
A level of capacity that does simply not exist on this planet, a level of capacity which is exponentially decreasing through a lack of arable lands. Not only wasted resources as land, water, energy, labor and many more are an issue. A vast majority of food waste goes to landfill, where it decomposes without oxygen and creates methane, which impacts are much more negative for our sphere than the ones coming from other gases.

Sounding quite dystopian, already small steps like paying attention to personal consuming behavior can have a positive impact.
We listed a few tips for avoiding unnecessary food waste, which can be easily implemented in ones daily routine!

• Don’t buy too much groceries, especially if you’re shopping for a small household. Multipacks often may seem less expensive, however, you will save money in the long term by buying amounts of food which correspond with what is actually needed. You save money and help the environment!

• Never go grocery shopping if you’re hungry! This as well saves you some money and you avoid buying useless products which could potentially be thrown away.

• Planning is everything! This does not have to be a strict meal plan, listing your needed groceries prior entering the store is enough and will surely save you some time and money and prevent you from buying unnecessary food.

• Don’t be too meticulous with minimum expiry dates for certain foods. If the “use-by” date of your yoghurt was yesterday, it will be also enjoyable 1-2 days after. Please note: Only if stored appropriate and cool enough! 

You will have the opportunity of learning more about food waste if you join us on the 30th of September, where our professional Katharina Unger will talk about this important topic!

Written by Aleksandra Kirpenko

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