We Waste 1 Billion Tons of Food Per Year

The United Nations released a study Wednesday with the astounding and sad fact that 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted each year. That amounts to nearly 1/3 of all the food produced for consumption in the world. This has led to increased food insecurity, which means higher prices for food across the board. Wasted food also directly combats efforts to eradicate hunger in the world’s poorest nations.

The report also details the difference between food loss and food waste. Loss refers to inefficiencies in food production and processing. Food waste, on the other hand, is much worse and refers to when retailers and consumers simply throw away edible food. Developed nations waste around a quarter of a billion tons of food every year.

“Much of the blame is on retailers in rich nations that throw out food simply because it looks unappealing, and the food industry’s ‘all-you-can-eat’ marketing tactics, which encourage consumers to buy more than they need.” (source)

Here are just a few tips to reduce your own food waste:

  • Eat up all your leftovers! It’s easy to forget about them when they sit in the fridge. Also, make sure to take leftovers home with you from restaurants. It may not look like much on those huge plates, but it usually goes further than you would think.
  • Grocery shopping: make a list and don’t shop when you’re hungry. Make sure you stick to your list, and you won’t get tempted by all the sales trying to lure you in.
  • Rotate foods in cupboards and fridges. How many times have you found moldy food in the back of your refrigerator? When you get home with new groceries, put them in the back and bring the old stuff forward.
  • Start composting! Throw out a lot of fruits and veggies? Start a pile in your back yard and turn it into soil!
  • Portion control — one of the most important tips here! You will generally eat the food that is front of you, and you generally don’t need as much as you think. Try putting just a little less food on your plate, and see the difference it makes!
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