According to studies, approximately 14% of food produced is lost between harvest and retail.
Additionally, significant amounts of food are wasted at the retail and consumption levels.
Food loss refers to the portion of food that is lost from harvest to, but not including, the retail level, whereas food waste refers to the portion of food that is wasted at the consumer or retail level.
Around 17% of total global food production is wasted, with households accounting for 11%, food service accounting for 5%, and retail accounting for 2%.
Food that is lost or wasted consumes 38% of the energy consumed by the global food system.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) laments that food loss and waste place an additional strain on natural resources and harm the environment.
The body explains that wasting food entails squandering the labour, effort, investment, and precious resources such as water, seeds, and feed that go into its production, not to mention the resources used in transporting and processing it.
Food waste contributes to climate change by increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
The United Nations has made the following 15 recommendations for preventing food loss and waste:
Adopt a more sustainable and healthy diet
While life is hectic and preparing nutritious meals can be difficult, healthy meals do not have to be complicated.
The internet is brimming with quick, healthy recipes to share with your family and friends.
Purchase only what you require.
Prepare your meals in advance. Create and adhere to a shopping list, and avoid impulse purchases.
Not only will you reduce food waste, but you will also save money!
Select unattractive fruits and vegetables
Food should not be judged solely on the basis of its appearance! Fruits and vegetables that are unusually shaped or bruised are frequently discarded because they do not meet arbitrary cosmetic standards.
Not to worry – they taste identical! Smoothies, juices, and desserts can all be made with mature fruit.
Reorganize your cupboard or refrigerator by storing older products in the front and new products in the back.
Refrigerate open food in airtight containers and seal packets to prevent insects from entering.
Recognise food labelling
There is a significant distinction between “best before” and “use-by” dates. Occasionally, food is safe to eat after the “best before” date, but the “use-by” date indicates when it is no longer safe to eat.
Food labels should be scrutinised for unhealthy ingredients such as trans fats and preservatives, and foods with added sugar or salt should be avoided.
At home, serve yourself smaller portions or share large dishes at restaurants.
Admire your leftovers.
If you are unable to consume everything you prepare, freeze it for later use or incorporate the leftovers into another meal.
Purchasing unappealing fruits and vegetables and repurposing leftovers are two effective strategies for reducing food loss and waste.
Utilize your Waste food
Compost your food scraps rather than throwing them away.
This way, you’re replenishing the soil with nutrients and lowering your carbon footprint.
Food should be respected.
Food binds us all together. Reconnect with food by learning about the manufacturing process.
Learn about food production and get to know your farmers by reading about them.
Assist regional food producers
By purchasing local produce, you help support local family farmers and small businesses.
Additionally, you contribute to pollution reduction by reducing truck and other vehicle delivery distances.
Maintain the viability of fish populations
Consume abundant fish species, such as mackerel or herring, rather than overfished species, such as cod or tuna.
Purchase sustainably caught or farmed fish, such as eco-labeled or certified fish.
Additionally, food worth millions of dollars rots in Niger
Without water, we cannot produce food! While it is critical for farmers to use less water when growing food, reducing food waste also conserves the water resources used to grow it.
Other ways to conserve water include repairing leaks and turning off the water while brushing your teeth!
Maintain the cleanliness of our soils and water
Certain types of household waste are potentially hazardous and should never be disposed of in a regular trash can.
Batteries, paints, mobile phones, medicine, chemicals, fertilisers, tyres, and ink cartridges, among other things, can seep into our soils and water supplies, wreaking havoc on the natural resources used to grow our food.
Consume more pulses and vegetables
Consider eating a meal based on pulses or ‘ancient’ grains such as quinoa once a week.
Sharing is being kind.
Donate food that would have been thrown away.
For instance, apps can connect neighbours and local businesses, allowing surplus food to be shared rather than thrown away.