Food Loss and Waste

Food losses and food waste are a global problem with both economic and environmental aspects. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), around a third of all food produced around the world is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from agricultural production to final consumption. In the European Union, the annual loss or food waste is estimated at around 87.6 million tonnes, or around 173 kg per person.  The sectors contributing to this are mainly households (>50%), while much less, manufacturing (about 19%), food services (about 12%), primary production (about 11%) and wholesale and retail trade (about 5%).

This means that all contributors in the food chain contribute to food loss and waste and can therefore play an important role in preventing and reducing it. Food losses and waste are exacerbating food insecurity, malnutrition and water consumption while hunger in the world is increasing. Inefficiencies in the food supply chain and in consumption also have serious environmental impacts. Reducing food losses and food waste helps to combat hunger and climate change.

However, the phenomenon of the dumping of food as waste not only harms the efforts of the international community to support people who are suffering from hunger or cannot afford a healthy diet, but also seriously damages the environment. According to official data, food waste and loss cause around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, which, combined with intensive agriculture, are key causes of the climate crisis, the degradation of biodiversity and global pollution. 

Climate change is increasing pressures on food security and some regions are under stronger pressure than others. Drought, fires or floods pose direct obstacles to production capacity. Unfortunately, climate change often affects countries that are more vulnerable and probably have more limited means of adaptation. But food, in a sense, is just another "good." Its production requires resources such as land and water. As with other products on the market, it is consumed or used, and can end up in the trash. The amount of food that ends up in the trash is large, especially in developed countries. Which means that the resources used to produce these foods also end up in the trash. Therefore, reducing the loss and waste of food will contribute both to the protection of natural resources, the environment and climate change, as well as to food security and the fight against hunger, which are global objectives of the United Nations.

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