Food wastage is becoming a serious problem all over the world. Food waste or food loss is food material that is discarded or unable to be used.
The causes of wasted food are numerous, and occur at the stages of production, processing, retailing and consumption.As of 2013 it is estimated that half of all food is wasted worldwide, according the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME). Loss and wastage occurs at all stages of the food supply chain or value chain.
In low-income or developing countries, most loss occurs during production, while in developed countries much food – about 100 kilograms (220 lb.) per person per year – is wasted at the consumption stage.
Food waste or food loss is food material that is discarded or unable to be used. Various political organisations and entities have their own definition of what constitutes food waste. The causes of wasted food are numerous, and occur at the stages of production, processing, retailing and consumption.
Agriculture ministers from across Europe and Central Asia have called on private sector to take the lead in preventing unnecessary loss and wastage of food as populations expand and food requirements continue to rise.
The ministers while calling on private and public sectors actions, said the world cannot afford to continue squandering one third of total agricultural production.
The FAO examined food losses and waste in various regions of the world comparing low-, middle- and high-income countries, and studied seven different supply chains: dairy, fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, oil crops and pulses, roots and tubers, and cereals.
Notable differences in the patterns of food losses and waste were found depending on income levels. Most of the losses in the developed countries occur at the consumption stage, while in the middle and low-income countries the largest losses occur at the production and post-harvest stages of the value chain.
Bread is taken as an example. Over-supply, purchasing capacity and consumer preference for fresh bread – as well as higher discard rates of other cereal products – result in nearly 25 percent wastage of cereal products in high-income countries.
In middle-income countries, levels of waste fall to 8.5 percent, and in low-income countries as low as 5 percent. Another source of food waste is aesthetic standards, and consumer preference for products with a longer remaining shelf life.
Consumer behaviour is only part of the picture, however. Significant levels of food loss can occur at farm level, during storage, transport and processing.
We all should make a conscious effort to reduce and prevent food wastageOne way of dealing with food waste is to reduce its creation. This attitude has been promoted by campaigns from advisory and environmental groups, and by concentrated media attention on the subject.
Consumers can reduce their food waste output at points-of-purchase and in their homes by adopting some simple measures; planning when shopping for food is important, stop spontaneous purchases which are now known to be the most wasteful.
All housewives should acquire a proper knowledge of food storage and preservation as this reduces foods becoming inedible and end up being thrown away.