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Half of the World’s Food Is Thrown Away


That old bunch of carrots or pot of soup that sat for too long in your fridge, then ended up in your trash, doesn’t seem like much. But when multiplied over an entire year and expanded globally, the problem of food waste becomes one of epic proportions.

A report about food waste has Britain’s largest supermarkets on the defense. The report suggests that up to half of the world’s food is thrown away, and many supermarkets play a significant role with poor storage, strict sell-by dates, and bulk offers.

The report entitled “Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not,”1 published in 2013 by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), found that more than two billion tons of food is wasted annually.

The study claims that up to 30 percent of perfectly good vegetables are not harvested simply because they aren’t pretty. Thirty to 50 percent of the four billion tons of food produced around the world each year never reaches a human mouth.

In spite of the fact that there is enough food grown in the world to feed every man, woman, and child, 2.3 million children still die of hunger every year. Cutting waste is vital if the world is to meet its food demand as the population grows.2 Dr. Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the IME, said:

“The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today.

The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers.”

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