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Food Waste Is Becoming A Billion Tonne Problem

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Niall McCarthy

A new report released by the United Nations Environment Programme has revealed the shocking scale of global food waste. Its 2021 Food Waste Index estimates that people discard 931 million tonnes of food annually with per capita food waste averaging 74kg per household.

569 million tonnes falls into the category of household waste. Supermarkets and other businesses are also guilty of disposing of signficant quanities of food with the total amount discarded also adding up to hundreds of millions of tonnes per year. The report estimates that 244 million tonnes is wasted by food service annually while retail discards 118 million tonnes.

UNEP defines food waste as food that completes the food supply chain up to a final product, of good quality and fit for consumption, but still doesn't get consumed because it is discarded, whether or not after it is left to spoil or expire. Food waste typically (but not exclusively) takes place at retail and consumption stages in the food supply chain.

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