Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted or lost around the world! This figure is particularly horrifying given that food waste is a shared concern, occurring at every stage of the food supply chain, from agricultural production to final household consumption. Unfortunately, Europe is one of the worst offenders, as can be seen in this infographic. The Louis Bonduelle Foundation has some suggestions for mitigating the problem.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 793 million people still go hungry in the world. Contrary to popular thinking, this also includes Europe!
According to Eurostat, approximately 9.6% of the European population is unable to afford a proper meal (with meat, fish, chicken or a vegetarian equivalent) every other day. As the Eurobarometer infographic below shows, 20% of all food produced in the European Union is wasted or lost throughout the entire supply chain, or the equivalent of 173 kilos of food waste per person per year!
And this figure does not even take into account the CO2 required to produce and eliminate this food, which amounts to a whopping 170 million tons a year! The Netherlands, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia and Poland come bottom of the class. The social and economic impact of food waste is obviously very high.
Food waste is a huge challenge
Food waste obviously has an environmental impact first and foremost, because of the unnecessary waste of the scarce land, water and energy resources and as a factor in climate change. For every kilo of food that is produced, 4.5 kilos CO2 are generated and poured into our atmosphere.
Reducing food waste, with some easy solutions and common sense, could already help mitigate a situation that climate change experts consider to be dramatic, especially in light of this year’s devastating hurricanes.
The Louis Bonduelle Foundation has shed light on the matter, with a comprehensive scientific dossier that defines all the mechanisms of food waste and some guidelines for action in order to resolve this issue.
How to reduce food waste every day
Everyone, including all the stakeholders along the food supply chain, must assume their share of the responsibility for reducing the food waste problem. This challenge can be met head on by six interventions outlined in an inventory by the Louis Bonduelle Foundation, which illustrates the positive impact of a change in behaviour with examples. A comprehensive global response is necessary now more than ever, as food waste is such a huge problem that it threatens food supply and the conservation of resources on a global scale.