Waste not, want not

As the world population soars – hurtling towards more than nine billion by 2050, according to experts – we’re beginning to worry about how we’re going to feed so many extra mouths, given our finite planet and its limited resources. Already, there are nearly a billion who go hungry every day, who are considered ‘chronically undernourished’ by the UN, so what is going to happen when there are two billion more people vying for resources? The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has claimed food production must increase by 70 per cent based on 2005/06 levels, but a growing number are pointing out that curtailing food waste and losses would also go a long way towards solving the problem.

Indeed, a recent report released by Aalto University in Finland, ‘Lost food, wasted resources’, revealed that by halving food losses worldwide, it would be possible to sustain a further one billion inhabitants on current world food production levels. The study found that a quarter of the world’s food supply is lost throughout the food supply chain (FSC), and that the figure could be halved ‘if the lowest loss and waste percentages achieved in any region in each step of the FSC could be reached globally’.