Food waste in the world

Half of global food production is wasted. 2 Billion tons, according to the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Here are the estimates and the ways to reduce it.

Half of global food production, about two billion tonnes, is wasted, even though a large amount is still edible. This was revealed in a report conducted by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers in January 2013.


One of the major causes of food waste are the bad habits of millions of people, who don’t know how to preserve products appropriately. But even expiration dates suggesting not to consume food products too early, promotions that push people to purchase more food than it is necessary, long supply chains of the industrial food products.


If on one hand billions of tons of food is wasted, on the other, one billion people who doesn’t have appropriate access to food.


Food waste worldwide The appraisal revealed in the study Global Food Losses and Food Waste is a little bit higher than – but consistent with – the FAO’s, according to which one third of the food produced every year worldwide, i.e. 1.3 billion tons, is lost or wasted. This study, indeed, highlights that industrialised countries and developing countries waste 670 and 630 million tons of food a year, respectively. The report was commissioned by the FAO to the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology on the occasion of Save the Food. Solutions for a world aware of its resources, in 2011. In the industrialised countries alone 222 million tons of food are wasted every year, enough to feed the whole population of Sub Saharan Africa.


In Europe, the quantity amounts to 89 million tons, or an average of 180 kg per capita. The UK is the country to waste more food globally, 110 kg per capita, followed by the US (109 kg), Italy (108 kg), France (99 kg), Germany (82 kg) and Sweden (72 kg). “42% of food waste in Europe occurs at household levels” said Francesco Mele, Manager of the Campaign against Food Waste at Slow Food Italy.

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