The realities of food wastage in our world today is becoming more evident than ever. Several research and findings have in one way or the other revealed the scary growth in the number of food wastes and its impact on our economy and indeed the availability of food all over the world. Some of the recent impacts on the economy and causes of food wastage findings are listed below:
FAO estimated in the results of its recent findings that the avoidable food wastage in the US on a yearly basis exceeds 55 million metric tons, which is approximately more than 29% of its food production.
Food wastes around the world per year equal a staggering 1.3 billion tons. This number measures up to one-third of the food production allocated for human consumption.
The scary figures concerning food wastage keep rolling in yearly but the real question most people are asking is, what are the causes of food wastage and the impact on our economy? This article focuses on these subject matter, how we contribute to the problem and the possible economic solutions.
Causes of food wastage differ from location to location. In developing countries, food wastage can largely be attributed to a number of reasons; Poor food storage and infrastructure, illiteracy and other social/cultural factors. In the developed world, food losses and wastage can be linked to inadequacies in the upstream production sector; Retail and consumer refuse.
Although food wastage is predominant on the consumer end, the retail end before the final consumer also contributes its portion to the quantity of food wasted yearly. This is most times attributed to poor food transportation and storage logistics by the agricultural and industrial sector.
Agricultural production is made up of some stages that could potentially lead to food loss. This may include damage and spoilage during harvest, post-harvest, and the eventual storage.
The processing segment is also not left out; trimming, sorting, spillage and degradation processes could turn out a large amount of waste on daily basis. This is an area mostly overlooked in the food supply chain, especially in developed countries like the United States.
Food waste from various households across the country contributes to the remaining percentage of food waste that turn out every year. You might not notice, but your house might be a big part of the homes that increase the volume of food losses and wastes annually. You might be wondering how, so here are some ways you may be unintentionally contributing to national food waste bulk:
Badly prepared food: This is probably the major reason why most homes waste food regularly. No offense to moms out there, but sometimes we all tend to throw away food that tastes bad. When the food cooking process is bad, the next alternative or solution is to throw the resultant meal into the trash can.
Food that has passed its use date: These are mostly processed foods that have exceeded the proposed expiry date. We eventually throw them away due to the fear of cancer and other health risks we could be exposed to if we consume such food. Examples are dairy foods, fish, meat, etc.
Leftovers: Yes! most times, we tend to take more food than our stomach can actually carry and we eventually get filled up while eating and discard the leftover since nobody else in the house would be willing to continue with the food we have messed up.
Partially used food: This category of waste is similar to leftovers, in fact, they can be described as leftovers which end up in the fridge but never gets re-used again. We all know where such kind of food eventually ends up.
Refrigerated food: This category of food waste in the home are those that could have been useful but unfortunately now smell bad, taste bad, look bad due to poor management. To the trash, here we go!!
Change of plans: Sometimes, we change plans as regards the food the family intended to eat and we end up wasting the food the family was going to eat in the first place.
Unplanned Parties and Celebrations: It is really good to celebrate and party every once in a while but we also need to take into consideration, the amount of food waste that come along with such a lifestyle.
So next time you want to throw away food or engage in the process that eventually leads to food wastage, remember the damage you could be causing the country and the world at large. While that could be a direct consequence of improper conduct when it comes to food and things related to it, the economic impact is far more overwhelming.
As the volume of food waste in the country increases so does the amount it takes to dispose of them. The economy suffers greatly when money which should be invested in better sectors are channeled to disposing of waste, especially food waste. Reduction in food waste will definitely ensure that businesses in the country reduce or totally cut the costs involved in hiring staffs meant to dispose of accumulated waste. Proper management of waste and food waste improves the overall efficiency of the country and balances the distribution of resources among the citizens of the country.