Over a billion tons of food - one third of global food production - is lost or wasted annually, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Levels of wastage are increasing due to food either being thrown away, left uneaten or spoiled because of poor storage and transport conditions. At the same time, global food production has increased at a faster pace than population growth over the past half century. The EU and USA have notoriously experienced the problem of “food mountains”.
Wasting food also raises social and moral questions in a world where millions of people still suffer from hunger. There are environmental issues connected to food waste, this includes wasteful use of chemicals, fuel used for transportation, and a significant climate impact. Efficiency measures, including re-using or recycling food instead of throwing it away, could create enormous savings and help the fight against hunger. If food waste was halved, greenhouse emissions could be slashed by 5 per cent or more, while reducing food waste by just a quarter, would be sufficient to feed 870 million suffering from chronic hunger.
- OECD Food Chain Network
- Household consumption
- OECD work on agriculture and fisheries
- Green growth and sustainable development
- Table for 2