2 billion metric tons of food are wasted

Food waste
By Reidar Molthe

27 August 2018 09:31

2 billion metric tons of food are wasted

Up to a third of fresh food grown on British farms — including 2,500 metric tons of Scottish strawberries is rejected each year because its appearance does not meet standards expected by supermarket chains and the EU.

Edinburgh University have estimated (for the first time) the quantity of fruit and vegetables lost, and emissions produced in UK and Europe. The researchers  argue that the cosmetic appearance of fruit and vegetables is over-emphasized, leading to unnecessary loss and waste, and that a different an approach could alleviate food poverty and help farmers financially, writes The Sunday Times.


While some of the rejected food may be used for jams or animal feed, a lot is simply ploughed back into fields. Edinburgh University estimates that 2,500 tons of Scottish strawberries fail to meet the visual standards annually, causing up to 2,000 tons of CO2emissions. Some stores including Tesco already sell imperfect fruit and vegetables, but it accounts for only a small proportion of what they display.

Global food waste is fast increasing

Food waste is a grave problem in western countries, but researcher fears that food waste can increase by as much as 33 percent or more by 2030 - to staggering 2 billion tons; propelled by a booming world population and changing eating habits in developing nations. It is hard to imagine how much two billion metric tons really is, but if we break it down to trailer loads it takes maybe as much as 80.000 trucks to move the global food waste alone!

One third of our food is lost each year

Around a third of the world’s food is lost or thrown away each year. Currently, we waste 1.6 billion tons of food annually, worth about $1.2 trillion dollars. Much of the projected increase is due to a swelling world population, more disposable income (in developing countries) and “western habits.” In the end consumers, businesses and law makers must play a bigger role in driving change, argues Liz Goodwin, director of the food loss and waste program at the World Resources Institute. “We need a shift in our attitudes to food waste – I think we need to get to the point where it just isn’t acceptable to throw food in the bin,” she says to Reuters .

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