Today we look at the issue of reducing food waste to address food insecurity. Each year, millions of tons of food go to waste while millions of people around the world do not have enough to eat. It is estimated that one-third of all food produced is never consumed. That’s 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year!
Not only is this a travesty from a moral standpoint, but it also has significant environmental implications. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases – behind only China and the United States.
Reducing Food Waste: Reasons for food waste
There are many reasons why food is wasted. On the production side, crops can be lost due to bad weather or pests. In developed countries, much food is wasted because it does not meet cosmetic standards – for example, fruits and vegetables that are misshapen or blemished.
Once food reaches the retail level, customers can be picky about what they purchase, and supermarkets will often discard perfectly edible food that is nearing its expiration date. And finally, at the consumer level, we often cook or purchase more food than we can eat, and end up throwing it away.
How food waste contributes to food insecurity
One of the main ways that food waste contributes to food insecurity is by taking away potential resources that could be used to feed people in need.
When crops are lost due to bad weather or pests, that is food that could have fed people. When supermarkets discard food that is nearing its expiration date, that is also food that could have gone to people who are struggling to make ends meet.
Ways to reduce food waste
There are many ways to reduce food waste. On the production side, farmers can engage in crop rotation and use more environmentally-friendly pesticides.
On the retail side, supermarkets can donate unsold food to food banks or sell it at a discount. And on the consumer side, we can be more mindful of the amount of food we purchase, and cook only what we need.
The other way to reduce food waste is to donate surplus or unused food to charities or food banks. This helps to address the problem of food insecurity, which is when people do not have access to enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives.
How reducing food waste can help address food insecurity
Reducing food waste is an effective way to address food insecurity. By redirecting resources that would otherwise be wasted, we can help ensure that more people have enough to eat.
In addition, by reducing the amount of food we waste, we can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down climate change.
Food waste is a major problem both in terms of food insecurity and environmental sustainability. However, there are many ways to reduce food waste, and doing so can have a significant impact in addressing these two pressing issues.