According to the UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index, 17% of the food available to consumers is thrown away in stores, households, and restaurants.
According to a global report, more than 900 million tonnes of food are thrown away each year.
The UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index, 17% of the food available to consumers – in stores, households, and restaurants – is thrown away, and 60 per cent of that waste is generated at home.
Approximately 931 million tonnes of food go to waste every year, and the households account for 61%, food service accounts for 26%, and retail accounts for 13%. The waste reduction could have social, economic, and environmental benefits.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aim to cut food waste in half by 2030. According to a UN report, 931 million tonnes of food go to waste each year, with unconsumed produce accounting for 8-10% of global carbon emissions.
The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2021, approximately 17% of global food production may be wasted, with households accounting for 61% of this waste, food service accounting for 26%, and retail accounting for 13%.
Food waste burdens waste management systems, increase food insecurity and contributes significantly to global issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021:
Significant environmental, social, and economic consequences result from large amounts of food being produced but not consumed by humans. According to estimates, food not consumed accounts for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Reducing food waste at the retail, food service, and household levels can benefit both people and the environment. However, until now, the true scope of food waste and its consequences have been poorly understood. As a result, the opportunities provided by food waste reduction have primarily gone untapped and underutilised. Suppose we are serious about reducing food waste.
In that case, we must increase our efforts to measure food and inedible parts wasted at the retail and consumer levels and track food waste generation in kilogrammes per capita at the national level. We will only be able to track progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, which aims to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses if we have reliable data.
The Food Waste Index Report aims to contribute to the achievement of SDG 12.3. It accomplishes this by presenting the most comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis, and modelling to date, generating a new estimate of global food waste, and publishing a methodology for countries to measure food waste at the household, food service, and retail levels to track national progress toward 2030 and report on SDG 12.3. Countries that use this methodology will generate strong evidence to guide a national food waste prevention strategy that is sensitive enough to detect changes in food waste over two or four years and allows meaningful comparisons between countries globally.
Some simple ways to reduce food wastage:
Food should be stored properly
Every food item has a section on the label that describes the best way to store the object. For example, cheese should be stored in the refrigerator, so follow the instructions and store it in the fridge to avoid spoilage and waste.
Food should be stored in an airtight container.
Most foods, such as biscuits, fruits, pickles, and namkeen, have a longer shelf life when stored in an airtight container. These containers keep moisture and bacteria out, so food stays fresher for longer. As a result, the need to discard food due to spoilage decreases.
Order food with caution.
When dining out, try not to order too many dishes and end up only eating a small portion of each one if you’re out with friends or family, order one or two items that can be shared to minimise food waste.
Don’t toss edible parts.
Many people will throw away edible parts of food. Fruit peels, chicken skin, and egg yolks are three examples of edibles thrown, all of which are highly nutritious and healthy.
Do not toss leftovers.
Most households have leftovers, and the majority of the time, they end up in the trash. Instead of throwing them away, use them the next day in other dishes, such as soup with leftover chicken or salad with leftover tomatoes.
Food should not be served on a plate.
Rather than serving food on a plate to guests or your own family, fill it in containers or bowls from which everyone can take the desired amount of food, eliminating the risk of wastage.
Food that is about to expire should be deep-frozen.
Few people realise that deep-freezing food nearing its expiration date can extend its shelf life by up to thirty days! So, the next time you come across food that is about to go wrong, just throw it in the deep freeze, and you’ll have thirty days to eat it.
Eat food before it expires.
Most foods have a shelf life, after which they become rancid and unsafe to consume. Food must be thrown away after its expiration date, so to avoid a situation in which waste is the only option, try to finish the food before it expires.
Purchase only what is absolutely necessary.
It is common to discover a slew of items in your shopping basket that you had not intended to purchase. Picking up items from shelves may be tempting, but to reduce food waste, only pick up things that you actually need, rather than items that you may or may not consume.
According to a United Nations study, global hunger is becoming a more serious problem. Each night in 2019, an estimated 690 million people went to bed hungry. An estimated 83 to 132 million more people may go hungry as a result of the pandemic.
So let us make sure we all start with small steps towards food wastage and start donating food other than just throwing it away because leftover food might not mean anything to us but so much more to someone else who can’t afford to have even one meal a day.