A recent Farm Journal Foundation speaker series discussed food waste from a global perspective. Roger Thurow of the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University talks about the level of food loss around the world.
“It is one of the great outrages in our world today that as much as one-third of all food is either lost at the farm, trade, or processing stages, or wasted, thrown away at the retail or consumer end. There was a dismal symmetry at work here – very dismal, troubling, tragic – that one-third number is about the same, be it in lower-income countries where about one-third of food crops never even make it out of the fields or off the farm and onto plates because of inadequate storage facilities, poor transport, a lack of markets, or in the higher-income countries, that one-third also applies.”
He says the world’s higher-income countries waste a lot of food. “Higher-income countries like the United States, Europe, the richer precincts of the world, where about one-third of all processed food and food prepared for consumption is discarded, perhaps thrown away by stores for being past sell-by dates or by consumers who forget it in the back of a refrigerator or were too full to eat anymore.”
Wasting food has significant effects on the planet and the human population.
“The consequences on our environment: using soils, nutrients, and water, for instance, to grow food that is never eaten; the greenhouse gases released by discarded spoiled food; the consequences on the availability of food and on food prices are enormous, and they are some of the reasons why hunger and malnutrition continue to abide, to persist, to increase in our world today in 2022.”