If you combine all the food waste of Europe and the United States, you have enough food to feed all people who suffer from hunger worldwide.
Food waste is a big problem, not only in the Netherlands but in the whole world. The problem has to do with awareness. Most people know how big the problem of food waste is, but think they do not play a very big role in it. The consumers are wasting the most amount of food but the restaurants and grocery stores are playing a big part in the problem as well. An estimated one third of all the food produced is never consumed. That would be 1,3 billion ton food every year which is worth around 1 trillion dollar. Every person wastes around 50 Kg of food per year which is €150 per person each year.
There are a lot of different reasons for throwing away food. In households, the most common ones are when food is past its use-by-date and leftovers are thrown away or kept but then forgotten. Other reasons for the consumer are when they prepared or cooked too much, bought too much at the store or had just forget what food was already in the house.
The biggest reason and worst problem for restaurants is when people cancel their dinner reservation last minute. In most restaurants, they cook a part of the dinner for a reservation beforehand so that in the evening it isn’t so hectic in the kitchen. When the reservation gets cancelled all that food is thrown away.
For grocery stores most food is thrown away because it is past its use-by-date or best-before-date. The stores don’t want to be accountable for whenever someone gets sick because of the food they have been selling. A big part (around 40
%) of the unsold grocery food is already donated or recycled but that doesn’t mean the problem has been solved in the grocery stores.
Food waste is big problem not only for economic reasons (loss of money) but also for environmental reasons. Energy is needed for the production of food, so whenever food is thrown away the energy is wasted as well. Food waste itself causes big amounts of CO2 emissions which, as everyone knows, is already a big problem itself.
When we look at land usage we know the world is densely populated. One third of all the land that is used for the production of food, is used to grow food which will be wasted. In that case, we could have an extra 1.4 billion hectares of land being efficiently used.
If you look at the problem Food Waste and you look at the reasons for it and all the consequences it has, I can’t imagine anyone not agreeing with me that this has to stop. The reasons and causes for the waste of food are easily to prevent. The only thing is to do now is to make sure everyone is aware of this major problem and knows how to help stop it.
Charlotte Jansen, A4d