Half of all food thrown away, report claims

Jan 10, 2013
An Indian labourer covers rotting wheat at Khamano village 40 kilometres from Ludhiana on May 19, 2012. Up to half of all the food produced in the world—two billion tonnes of it—is thrown away, according to a report.

Up to half of all the food produced in the world—two billion tonnes of it—is thrown away, according to a report published on Thursday.

The waste is caused by poor infrastructure and storage facilities in the developing world, and "buy-one-get-one-free" offers, and the fussiness of consumers in the developed world, the report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said.

Every year, four billion tonnes of is produced, but between 30 percent and 50 percent is never consumed, according to the report entitled "Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not".

One of the worst offenders is Britain, where as much as 30 percent of vegetables are not harvested because they are misshapen and supermarkets will not sell them.

The report also suggests that half of the food that is bought in Europe and the United States is thrown away by consumers.

A man does his shopping in a supermarket in Saint-Sebastien-sur-Loire, western France on December 27, 2012. Up to half of all the food produced in the world—two billion tonnes of it—is thrown away.

Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: "The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering.

"This is food that could be used to feed the world's growing population—as well as those in hunger today.

"It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.

"The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and , inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one free offers."

The also found that 550 billion cubic metres of water is wasted globally in growing crops that were never eaten.

The institution said the demand for water production could reach between 10 trillion and 13 trillion cubic metres a year by 2050.

Fox said: "The UN projects that the will swell to 9.5 billion by 2075, meaning there will be three billion more people to feed.

"As water, land and come under increasing pressure from competing human demands, engineers have a crucial role to play in preventing food loss and waste by developing more efficient ways of growing, transporting and storing foods.

"But in order for this to happen governments, development agencies and organisations like the UN must work together to help change people's mindsets on and discourage wasteful practices by farmers, food producers, supermarkets and consumers."

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nkalanaga
4 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2013
SO: Other studies show there is enough food consumed to feed the entire world at an adequate level. If we converted most of the wasted food into biofuels we'd make a big dent in our petroleum use without new farm land, new crops, or increasing hunger.
Royale
not rated yet Jan 10, 2013
Sure, but a lot of people in the developed world eat a much higher than 'adequate' level. And if you try to take food from them they'll bite your head off.
If there was a way to skim off all the wasted food when we realize it will be wasted, using that for biofuels might be good, but we need the ability to actually make biofuels from wheat/grain and not just high sugar corn or cane.. (which I'm not sure we can do yet, at least not on a big scale)
NOM
2 / 5 (4) Jan 10, 2013
[smug]I have chickens, compost bins and a worm farm, so very little waste.[/smug]
Tausch
1 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2013
An arms race necessitates a display (not use) of might or force.
What necessitates indifference in an anti waste race?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Jan 10, 2013
Mmmm... rotting wheat.

Why are so many people becoming gluten intolerant?

Why dont we irradiate food to keep it from spoiling?

We have enough problems with overpopulation as it is without trying to feed more people.

Without eliminating the obsolete cultures which overpopulate by design, providing them with more food only makes the problem WORSE.

-Just some random thoughts-
Tausch
3 / 5 (4) Jan 10, 2013
Subsidizing anything motivates indifference.
The 'choice' not to grow a plant.
Exceeds any rationalization for necessity.
Caliban
3.2 / 5 (9) Jan 10, 2013
Well, one thing is for sure: we can't just give that food away to developing nations or the needy.

That would be goddam SOCIALISM!!!!!

alfie_null
3.5 / 5 (2) Jan 11, 2013
How practical is the practice of shipping food from here to there? How much of "there" are we talking about? That's a lot of shipping and distribution.

And what is the link between, say, me as a consumer throwing out less, and more food being available in a poverty-stricken area? Ship the food I otherwise would have thrown out? Consume less, so the upstream farmer is left with a surplus? Then, consider the economic effects on a region that receives chronic food handouts. Follow any of these processes through to the likely conclusion to see how impractical the idea is.

Large scale shipping food from one area of the world may be useful for emergency relief, but not to correct long term food production problems. Areas that practice subsistence farming simply have to be self sufficient.
VendicarD
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 11, 2013
I threw out a cucumber two weeks ago.

That pretty much sums up my food waste for the month.
Caliban
not rated yet Jan 11, 2013
How practical is the practice of shipping food from here to there? How much of "there" are we talking about? That's a lot of shipping and distribution.

And what is the link between, say, me as a consumer throwing out less, and more food being available in a poverty-stricken area? Ship the food I otherwise would have thrown out? Consume less, so the upstream farmer is left with a surplus? Then, consider the economic effects on a region that receives chronic food handouts. Follow any of these processes through to the likely conclusion to see how impractical the idea is.

Large scale shipping food from one area of the world may be useful for emergency relief, but not to correct long term food production problems. Areas that practice subsistence farming simply have to be self sufficient.


You make too many assumptions. Mainly about value, cost, and what constitutes "Food".

But, yes, with present systems(very broad term), ending hunger worldwide just isn't practical.


TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 12, 2013
Large scale shipping food from one area of the world may be useful for emergency relief, but not to correct long term food production problems. Areas that practice subsistence farming simply have to be self sufficient.
Without checking I believe that 60% of gazans rely on aid. The pop there is one of the fastest growing in the ME. 'Fear the next generation' they say.
Pkunk_
3 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2013
Large scale shipping food from one area of the world may be useful for emergency relief, but not to correct long term food production problems. Areas that practice subsistence farming simply have to be self sufficient.
Without checking I believe that 60% of gazans rely on aid. The pop there is one of the fastest growing in the ME. 'Fear the next generation' they say.

Another lost generation growing up in the midst of all this hatred . What the Palestinians need is more doctors, engineers and working people.
Instead they are throwing away their future chasing a mirage of a pre-47 palestine where all "Kaffirs" are thrown back to Europe or killed. An entire generation is being brought up filled with hatred and brainwashed like the hitlsersjugend to hate jews.
They are already realizing that going down this path they will only lose whatever they could have got in the Oslo accords.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 12, 2013
Another lost generation growing up in the midst of all this hatred . What the Palestinians need is more doctors, engineers and working people.
No, what they need is to cast off the religionist culture which enslaves all their women and forces them to do nothing but make and raise children.

Their culture is killing them. The ideal solution in palestine is a one state solution. But this will never happen until both sides can live without the religions which tell then that each is the enemy of the other. The existence of any religion is blasphemy to any other religion.
MNIce
1.7 / 5 (3) Jan 15, 2013
[]No, what they (Gaza) need is to cast off the religionist culture which enslaves all their women and forces them to do nothing but make and raise children.

Their culture is killing them. The ideal solution in palestine is a one state solution. But this will never happen until both sides can live without the religions which tell then that each is the enemy of the other. The existence of any religion is blasphemy to any other religion.


You are getting off-topic. While the particular dominant religion/political system in Gaza is to blame for much of the economic misery there, it is of little relevance to this story beyond limiting the market for regional food sales. This is not the place to pound the drum for the atheistic/agnostic/humanist religion, which also seems to regard other religions as blasphemous.
Royale
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 16, 2013
We don't regard other religions as blasphemous. Religion is simply unnecessary.
So don't tell Ghost not to post that when you're clearly a believer. He's saying their culture is killing them, and it is.
Secondly, it was a response to an already leaning off topic post.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (8) Jan 16, 2013
This is not the place to pound the drum for the atheistic/agnostic/humanist religion
It is certainly not the place to be pounding the drum for religion itself is it? But many religionists seem to feel that it is, despite the topic. They try to sell ignorance and superstition and this cannot be left unchallenged.

This is a science website. Science DOES need to be defended from religionists. The best way of doing this is to state and restate the evidence which disproves the objects of their affection and delusion.

We also need to emphasize the causal relationship between religion and the suffering and violence it inevitably causes by, for instance, forcing overpopulation as a means of aggression.

Luckily, these things can be, and have been, done scientifically. Evidence abounds for the consistent lack of truth and moral integrity in the books. This is easy to show.

The more that people know and accept, the less they will believe.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 16, 2013
This is not the place to pound the drum for the atheistic/agnostic/humanist religion
Well if it is a religion then:

1) It doesnt enforce cultural mores which force reproductive aggression nor does it oppose mores which protect non-procreative sex

2) It doesnt have a book which is based on things which never happened

3) It doesnt reject evidence of how the world works in favor of superstition and nonsense

4) And it DOESNT go around blowing up mosques and churches and temples and synagogues full of people whose delusions it happens to disagree with.

True there were some church burnings in scandinavia and tennessee but satanists are also religionists are they not? Of course they are. They do write some pretty cool music though-
RitchieGuy01
1 / 5 (4) Jan 16, 2013
This is not the place to pound the drum for the atheistic/agnostic/humanist religion
Well if it is a religion then:

1) It doesnt enforce cultural mores which force reproductive aggression nor does it oppose mores which protect non-procreative sex


U and I don't need to worry about procreation for our gay sex, Otto

2) It doesnt have a book which is based on things which never happened


WE happened, darling

3) It doesnt reject evidence of how the world works in favor of superstition and nonsense


I would walk under a ladder anytime U want me to, Otto my love

4) And it DOESNT go around blowing up mosques and churches and temples and synagogues full of people whose delusions it happens to disagree with.


Blowing? U said the magic word, lover

RitchieGuy01
1 / 5 (4) Jan 16, 2013
True there were some church burnings in scandinavia and tennessee but satanists are also religionists are they not? Of course they are. They do write some pretty cool music though-
Otto

Otto. . . .remember when U and I were at the motel together and U said that U were burning for me and how much U worshipped me after we met? U and I made some beautiful music together, Otto my lover man.

kiss kiss suck suck
Royale
5 / 5 (1) Jan 17, 2013
Ritchie, you are clearly free to be gay. With no help from religionists. But making random innuendos instead of an intelligent thought.. Looks like you guys lost your side of the argument..