Food waste occurs along the entire spectrum of production, from the farm to distribution to retailers to the consumer. Reasons include losses from mold, pests, or inadequate climate control; losses from cooking; and intentional food waste.
This waste is categorized differently based on where it occurs:
Food “loss” occurs before the food reaches the consumer as a result of issues in the production, storage, processing, and distribution phases.
Food “waste” refers to food that is fit for consumption but consciously discarded at the retail or consumption phases.
Benefits of Less Food Waste
Cost savings on labor through more efficient handling, preparation, and storage of food that will be used.
Cost savings when purchasing only as much food as needed, and avoiding additional costs of disposal.
Reduced methane emissions from landfills and a lower carbon footprint.
Better management of energy and resources, preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling of food.
Community benefits by providing donated, untouched, and safe food that would otherwise be thrown out.
Proposed Solutions to Food Waste
Globally, reducing wasted food has been cited as a key initiative in achieving a sustainable food future.
Reduce food waste by improving product development, storage, shopping/ordering, marketing, labeling, and cooking methods.
Recover food waste by connecting potential food donors to hunger relief organizations like food banks and pantries.
Recycle food waste to feed animals or to create compost, bioenergy, and natural fertilizers.