– Published on
May 11, 2022

Food waste - a luxury we can’t afford

Food waste is food that is produced for the purpose of becoming food, but which for various reasons is not eaten. Most of the food waste occurs in households but also in food retail. We throw away enormous amounts of food, especially in rich countries. Statistics show that ⅓ of all food produced is wasted. At the same time hundreds of millions are starving around the world. How is this possible?

The SDGs

In 2015 The United Nations established 17 new goals for sustainable development, and the 12.3 objective goes like this:

By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

SDG 12.3 is measured by two different indicators, The Food Loss Index (FLI) and The Food Waste Index (FWI). The FLI measures the food loss in the supply chain, up to but not including retail. The other one, the FWI, is more relavant for us. It measures food waste at retail and consumer levels. Together, the two indicators keep track of a of the waste and losses all the way from farm to fork.

The wealthier you are the more food you waste

Studies show that more impoverished people waste less food simply because they value food more. It all boils down to the fact that food waste is a luxury that poor people can’t afford. In wealthier countries, we are used to a life with abundance of food. If we crave avocados we can have avocados. Maybe that’s something that has to change? Breaking habits is not easy and the food retail industry is facing a big challenge in keeping the customers happy while cutting the food waste. Because right now the numbers don’t add up, many stores still throw away too much food.

There are plenty more reasons to respect the food than the unfair distribution of it. One is the huge impact on the environment. According to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) , global food production accounts for 80% of the deforestation and 70% of all freshwater use. The production of food is also the largest driver of biodiversity loss and creates around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting food waste is therefore one of the most effective ways to reduce climate impact.

Respect the food

Food should be treated as the precious thing it is. When you throw away a brown banana, try to think about the banana’s life from seed all the way to your home. Picture all the water needed for it to grow, all the people working at the plantations, the long shipments, the efforts of keeping it fresh the whole way into your home. Trust me it’s been through some stuff, the brown banana deserves your respect. Bake a banana bread instead. Give food the respect it deserves!

Fia Sjöström
Content Creator & Marketing specialist

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