According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is never eaten. By category, this includes 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat. By reducing food loss and waste, we can not only address the need to feed the rapidly growing global population, but also to reduce the substantial environmental impact of growing food that presently is wasted. It has been said that if food waste was a country, it would be the one with the third largest carbon footprint.
In developing countries 40% of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels while in industrialized countries more than 40% of losses happen at retail and consumer levels. There are a lot of ways to think about food waste. The issue is complex, and effective reduction efforts require a coordinated response involving effective policies and technologies. Stakeholder commitment and informed decision making are also critical to helping turn the tide.