Cutting food loss will benefit people and the environment: New StudyListen /
One out of every four calories produced by the global agricultural system is being lost or wasted, according to new analysis. And it says this poses a serious challenge to the planet's ability to reduce hunger and meet the food needs of a rapidly-expanding global population.
Released on World Environment Day, which this year carries the theme 'Think.Eat.Save – Reduce Your Foodprint', the new working paper, Reducing Food Loss and Waste, shows that more than half of the food lost and wasted in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia occurs close to the fork—at the consumption stage. By contrast, in developing countries, about two-thirds of the food lost and wasted occurs close to the farm—after harvest and storage.
According to the study, released Wednesday in Mongolia, global host of World Environment Day 2013, the world will need about 60 percent more food calories in 2050 compared to 2006 if global demand continues on its current trajectory.
The authors say halving current rates of food loss and waste would reduce this gap by a fifth. This would also result in major savings in water use, energy, pesticides and fertilizers, and would be a boost for global food security.
UNEP Executive Secretary Achim Steiner says "It is an extraordinary fact that in the 21st century, close to 25 per cent of all the calories linked with growing and producing food are lost or wasted between the farm and the fork—food that could feed the hungry, food that has required energy, water and soils in a world of increasing natural resource scarcities and environmental concerns including climate change".
Donn Bobb, United Nations.