Did you know that one-third of food produced only leads to waste, leading to a loss of US$1 trillion every year? That means the food is thrown by the consumer or wasted during the production stage of the food chain. The food wasted goes to landfills, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
This may not make sense when around 828 million people experienced hunger in 2021. How can we tackle food loss? Here’s everything you need to know about maintaining sustainable food systems.
Avoid Food Loss on Farms
There are many ways to prevent food loss during the production process. A simple storage method may help farmers avoid pests and transportation damage. The Food and Agriculture Organization for better storage built forty-five thousand metal storage silos.
Another proven method is to redistribute food. Food banks and other groups are open to receiving extra produce farmers can’t afford to harvest. Supermarkets can also donate additional produce orders to these organizations to redistribute to those in need.
For instance, SecondBite is an Australian organization that redirected 3,000 metric tons of food in 2012 to food banks.
IFAD invests over US$100 million annually for roads, stores, and post-harvest projects. The budget also goes to equipment, packaging, and training. However, most small farmers need help to afford these tools, which often leads to food loss.
In four countries in Africa, a study found that loan products were not accessible to rural entrepreneurs and farmers because of the lack of branches and the high interest rates. There was also a risk of borrowing without guarantees in insurance and price for small farmers.
Reduce Food Waste From the Plate
That means preventing consumers from wasting food. There are many ways to do this.
- Improved food date labels. Many consumers do not know the differences between “use by,” “best before,” and “sell by” when they throw out food that can still be eaten. Retailers may remove all labels except for “use by.”
- Launch awareness campaigns. More people will be involved if they know the issue of unsustainable food systems. Groceries, restaurants, and other entities can lead these initiatives.
- Reduce portion sizes, especially in restaurants and buffets. The tray-less system in the cafeteria can also help prevent food waste.
Other Ways to Tackle Food Loss
Strategies on the policy level can help maintain sustainable food systems. Here are more recommendations provided by WRI.
- Establish a food loss and waste measurement strategy for a standardized way to monitor the phenomenon.
- Set targets that reduce food waste and loss that aim for global to business levels.
- Developing countries should invest more in reducing post-harvest losses since most of the losses in these nations occur close to the farm than on the plate.
- Build entities that can help tackle food loss. Make sure they are not affiliated with the government but collaborate with them and businesses.
- Support and collaborate with others in reducing food loss and waste. Be part of international efforts like Think.Eat.Save and SAVE FOOD.