Food Waste is a massive problem that affects us all. From the field to our house the effects of this issue cannot be overestimated. Food is lost or wasted for a variety of reasons: bad weather, processing problems, overproduction and unstable markets cause food loss before it arrives in a grocery, while overbuying, poor planning and confusion over labels and safety contribute to food waste at stores and in households.
But what is wasted food? There are two main kinds of wasted food: food loss and food waste. Food loss incorporates any edible food that goes uneaten at any stage it includes crops left in the field, food that spoils in transportation and all other food that doesn’t make it to a store. Food waste includes the half-eaten meal left on the plate, food discarded by retailers due to colour or the meal left on the plate and food scraps from preparing a meal.
In the past years, research has shown that food waste causes significant environmental, economic and social problems that cannot be ignored anymore.
The environmental consequences are very significant and harmful when we consider that one ton of organic waste releases one ton of methane, which is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming. It is also extremely important to know that food waste accounts for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, when we waste food, we also waste all the energy and resources it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. Regarding the economic impact of by wasting food we literally are throwing money in the bin. In Europe, nearly 59 million tons of food waste are generated annually with an associated market value estimated at 132 billion euros (Eurostat, 2022). Eurostat roughly estimates that around 10% of food made available to European consumers (at retail, food services and households) may be wasted. At the same time, some 32.6 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day (Eurostat, 2021).
From a social point of view, it makes obviously no sense to anyone to have significant food waste whilst also having so many people who are facing food insecurity, often in the same area. All this wasted food is a valuable nutritional source which could be utilized to support people in need. In order to understand the scale of the above oxymoron, one needs to bear in mind that wasted food in Europe alone could feed 200 million people.
Food Waste is concerns everyone.
Therefore, it is time to reflect, rethink and reconsider why this has assumed such global proportions and discuss potential ways to reduce it. Children tend to imitate adults and this includes their behavior towards food. It is important to communicate the significance of saving food in our actions and words if we wish for our children to have the opportunity to live in a better world. We hope this project provides a better understanding of food waste and some ways to contribute to a better world for kids!