Closing The Loop On Food Waste Essay
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food waste means any edible substance that is wasted or degraded along the food supply chain (FSC) (FAO, 1981). Food waste mainly occurs at the end of the FSC during distribution, sale and final consumption, but it also includes all types of food losses which take place during the agricultural production, post-harvest and processing stages. The main categories of food commodities which are wasted globally include fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, cereals, meat and fish (FAO and SIK, 2011). Figure 1 illustrates the percentage of food losses and food waste in each group of food. Figure 1: Food losses and food waste in different food groups (Vermeulen, Campbell and Ingram, 2012).
FAO (2011) estimates the annual global waste is 1.3 billion tons which is equivalent to one-third of the total food production worldwide. Of the total products cultivated for food, only about 43% is consumed (Lundqvist et al., 2008). Figure 2 shows the per capita food waste that occurs in different regions of the world. In high-income developed countries food is wasted more in the consumer level by being thrown away even if it is edible, but in low-income developing countries it is lost in the earlier stages of the FSC (Gustavsson, 2010). For instance, in countries like Europe and USA per capita food waste by consumers is…