Consumers throwing away a billion tonnes of food annualy

Nearly 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted around the world each year according to a report published by the Food and Agricultural Organization FAO. The waste is equivalent to about 30 per cent of food produced worldwide for human consumption. Patrick Maigua reports from Geneva.

Cutting food waste

Cutting food waste

The report by FAO says food waste is more a problem in industrialized countries with consumers throwing away over 222 million tons of food each year.

The waste is just short of Africa’s total food production which is estimated at 230 million tones annually.

On average each consumer in Europe and North America throws away up to 115 kilogram’s of food annually while those in Asia and Sub Saharan Africa throw away up to 11 kilogram’s of food per year.

The report blames consumer attitude and skewed marketing for food wastage.

It says consumers in rich countries are generally encouraged to buy more food than they need. “Buy three, pay two” promotions are one example, while the oversized ready-to-eat meals produced by the food industry are another.

The report recommends a concerted effort to change consumer attitudes and habits especially through schools.

It says consumers should be made aware that throwing food away needlessly is unacceptable and that it is easier to reduce food losses than increase food production in order to feed a growing world population.

Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio Geneva. 

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