Everyone is aware of the current challenges our society faces; the global financial crisis, global warming, climate change, population growth etc.
Globalisation has made us increasingly aware of these global issues, especially through the internet which has enabled us to obtain and communicate information across the globe.
We are all connected to the ‘global network’ which provides us with instant access to an overwhelming amount of information coming from all parts of the world.
There are currently over 2.4 billion internet users worldwide and that number is still increasing.
With more and more people connected to the internet, the knowledge that is shared and spread is so vast, that it has a very powerful effect on many things that concerns us. For example, the extreme winter weather in the United States and the unusual stormy weather in the UK resulting from changes in the global climate.
Indeed, there is a growing concern of the effects climate change has on our environment and our lives. The change in the global climate causes crops to diminish and disrupts the global food supply. Therefore, it is interesting to see some facts and figures on the Global food production and its three main categories: production losses, consumer waste and consumption. Site: http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/the-big-footprint-of-food-waste
What is the scale of food waste?
How much food a person wastes varies greatly depending on what their income is, how they eat and where they live.
On average each person on the earth wastes around 50 kg of edible food every year. However, food that is wasted by a wealthy person varies greatly from someone living in poverty.
The following chart is an estimate of per person food waste for seven different regions of the globe, and is based on the 2011 FAO report, Global Food Losses and Food Waste.
In Sub-Saharan Africa consumer food waste per person is less than 10 kg a year. This rises to 25 kg per person in Latin America and reaches almost 80 kg in the most industrialized parts of Asia: China, Japan and Korea. For the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand the average is about 110 kg, more than 10 times that of poor regions.
In a world where 850 million people are undernourished (FAO 2012), more than 350 million tons of good food is wasted each year. That’s about 10% of total food supply.
The importance of production losses
In addition to food wasted by consumers an enormous volume of food is lost during production. These losses occur in different stages of the supply chain including harvest, storage, handling, transportation, processing, distribution and retail.
The volume of edible food lost in all of these production stages is about 940 million tons each year. That equates to around 140 kg per person or 25% of total food supply.
Almost half the Roots & Tubers (potato, cassava and sweet potato) and Fruit & Vegetables produced globally are not consumed, while for Fish and Cereals it is roughly a third.
What the world loses, wastes and eats
If food supply is split into different food groups and divided the by population then it can be estimated what the average person on earth consumes, loses and wastes.
Global food supply per person is around 580 kg. Of this roughly 380 kg is consumed, 140 kg is lost in production and 50 kg is wasted by consumers. Of the 50 kg of food wasted per person, around half comes from cereals and a further quarter from fruit and vegetables.
The global population is growing at a rapid rate and so is the number of people connected to the internet. The demand on food is also rapidly increasing as more than 200,000 people are added to the world’s population each day. Climate change has a damaging impact on crops and food production, yet more than 10% of the total food supply is wasted each year. Of course, there are efforts undertaken by producers, distributers and retailers to minimise food waste. However, about 50 kg of food is wasted on average per person per year. Therefore, it is important for us consumers to play our part and cut the amount of food we waste for the benefit of our environment.