According to the latest progress report for the Sustainable Development Goals, about 8 per cent of all food produced in the world is lost on the farm, 14 per cent is lost between the farm gate and the retail sector, and 17 per cent is wasted at the retail, food service provider and household levels.
What is disturbing here is that these figures haven’t changed significantly in the past decade. Roughly 40 per cent of food still doesn’t get where it is meant to go, namely to the stomachs of the consumers. But hasn’t any progress at all been made in terms of food loss and waste? Or don’t we simply have any reliable methods to adequately assess the phenomenon? The answer is that both applies.
A recent study by the UK’s University of Greenwich arrives at the conclusion that food loss and waste measurements are usually aggregated from relatively small samples to national levels. This can result in volumes being considerably under- or overrated. Moreover, while we have a good knowledge of the problem in developed countries, above all of waste, little is known about that phenomenon in low- and middle-income countries. The question arising here is how to tackle a problem which can’t be properly measured.
While keeping these shortcomings in mind, we have asked our authors to present innovative, practical and, above all, scalable solutions from the fields they work in which can contribute to less food being wasted – for global food and nutrition security, for the economy, for the environment and for our climate.