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Waste Not, Want Not: Tackling Food Loss Globally

Reducing food waste

As we head to the supermarket to do our weekly shop, little do we know that in some cases 59 percent of produce will never make it to the shelves.

Disappearing between its original source and the consumer, more than a third of all food is damaged or perishes before human consumption.

Here, Bold Business looks at the fight to fix food loss through innovation and collaboration.

Food loss is becoming a global problem, more so now than ever before due to increasing population numbers and greater wealth.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the market value of food loss or waste in 2012 is comparable to the GDP of a country like the Netherlands at a total of 936 billion USD.

The FAO states that “40 per cent of food loss occurs at the post-harvest and processing stages of the food supply chain in developing countries” where they have weaker infrastructures and lack technological innovation.

According to, in developing countries, using South and Southeast Asia as an example, 59 percent of food is lost alongside a figure of 795 million people who do not have a reliable food source.

In developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and most of Europe, wasted food is very evident but at a lower rate and the demand for produce is much higher.

More than 40 percent of food in developed countries goes to waste due to over stocking, over preparation or out of date produce.

To help tackle this problem, Forum for the Future and partners has unveiled the Global Food Logistics Innovations Map.

Food Logistics & Warehouse Efficiency
Food Logistics & Warehouse Efficiency

This food logistics map will show the country of origin, its stage of development, efficacy levels, and how to get in touch with providers. The overall initiative enables food and logistics companies access to the most relevant or useful solutions to implement within their business to prevent food loss.

Developed via a collaboration between the UK Institute of Mechanical Engineers and US-based ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, these organizations are helping to develop and promote innovative solutions to tackling food loss around the world.

This non-profit has identified four key areas where the problem of food loss can be reduced through better packaging, cold chain, information and communications technology (ICT) and supply chain structure.

The United Nations have also identified reducing food loss as a goal and set a target to cut per capita global food waste in half through their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative.

As food supplies decrease and populations increase, organizations are doing all they can to reduce food waste around the world. Innovation and collaboration are providing practical solutions to tackling this problem and to ensure nothing goes to waste as we eat our way through food supplies at a phenomenal rate.

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