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Indian Economy

Food Wastage and its Impact

  • 03 Sep 2019
  • 3 min read

According to the report “Reducing Food Loss and Waste” by the World Resources Institute (WRI), uneaten food is impacting the economy and the environment negatively.

Key Findings

  • Defined Food Loss and Wastage:
    • Food loss refers to food that spills, spoils, incurs an abnormal reduction in quality such as bruising or wilting, or otherwise gets lost before it reaches the consumer. It is the unintended result of an agricultural process or technical limitation in storage, infrastructure, packaging, or marketing.
    • Food waste refers to food that is of good quality and fit for human consumption but that does not get consumed because it is discarded—either before or after it spoils. It is the result of negligence or a conscious decision to throw food away.
  • Impact of Uneaten Food:
    • Nearly one-third of the food that is produced each year goes uneaten, costing the global economy over $940 billion.
    • Uneaten food is responsible for emitting about 8% of planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • Place of Food Loss and Wastage:
    • Most of the food loss happens “near the farm” predominantly in lower-income countries.
    • Most of the food waste happens “near the plate” predominantly in higher-income countries.
  • Share of Food Group Lost or Wasted:
    • Roots and tubers are the food group that face the maximum wastage, at over 62% in the year 2007. Fruits and vegetables follow, with over 41% in the year 2007.
    • By weight, fruits and vegetables make up the largest share of total annual food loss and waste.
  • Solution:
    • Developing national strategies for food loss and waste reduction.
    • Creating national public-private partnerships to deal with food losses and wastage.
    • Tackling food loss and waste across the entire supply chain.
    • Shifting consumer social norms so that wasting food is seen as unacceptable.

World Resources Institute

  • WRI is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with international offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States.
  • It was established in 1982. Headquartered in Washington, US.
  • It aspires to create a world where the actions of government, business, and communities combine to eliminate poverty and sustain the natural environment for all people.

Source: IE

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