Roughly 1/3 of all food produced globally is wasted (1.3 billion tons). Every year Industrialized countries waste $680 billion worth of food, and Americans alone $161 billion. Each year a single individual in North America or Europe wastes between 95 and 120 Kg of food (mostly cereal/grain; fruits, vegetables, and meat/fish). In industrialized countries 40% of waste occurs at retail and consumer stage (especially due to quality standard and appearance); in developing countries, 40% of waste occurs at the processing and post-harvesting stage (source FAO). Efficiency in the production and consumption chain lags behind and the amount of resources (energy, water, land etc.) wasted to produce the discarded food are staggering.
On the prevention side, the FDA needs to educate consumer
and is planning to provide an additional instrument to distinguish between good
and spoiled food. to the already crowded list of labels, the FDA recommends the
food industry to introduce a new “Best if used by” label; this should make
consumers aware of the peak of freshness of food products while limiting waste
and favor the use a unique and simple statement across the industry.
In terms of income production, food waste is a gold mine,
yet very few companies are considering its potential for income production and
loss prevention. A small number of companies
(mainly startups) have recently begun efforts to recapture the billions of
dollars a year that are practically shredded. What a great opportunity for the
tech industry as well.