Almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste, a study suggests.The world population consumes around 10 per cent more food than it needs, while almost nine per cent is thrown away or left to spoil, researchers say.
Efforts to reduce the billions of tonnes lost could improve global food security — ensuring everyone has access to a safe, affordable, nutritious diet — and help prevent damage to the environment, the team says. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh examined ten key stages in the global food system — including food consumption and the growing and harvesting of crops — to quantify the extent of losses.
Using data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the team found that more food is lost from the system than was previously thought. Almost half of harvested crops — or 2.1 billion tonnes — are lost through over-consumption, consumer waste and inefficiencies in production processes, researchers say.