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What Is The Scale Of Food Waste?

December 04, 2014
Excel Sheet

There is something horrible about putting food in the bin, as the Shrink That Footprint research argues. Whether it is because you cooked too much for, let it go out of date or your kid didn’t fancy it, it just doesn’t feel right. Not only is it an awful waste but it can really add to your carbon footprint.

Global food supply per person is around 580 kg, according to a research made by Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology and FAO in 2011. Of this roughly 380 kg is consumed, 140 kg is lost in production and 50 kg is wasted by consumers. Of the 50 kg of food wasted per person, around half comes from cereals and a further quarter from fruit and vegetables.

How much food a person wastes varies greatly depending on what their income is, how they eat and where they live. In wealthy regions, like North America and Europe, consumer waste typically accounts for more than 15% of the total supply of Fruit & Vegetables, Cereals, Fish, Dairy and Roots & Tubers.

Almost half the Roots & Tubers (potato, cassava and sweet potato) and Fruit & Vegetables produced globally are not consumed, while for Fish and Cereals it is roughly a third.

If you include deforestation emissions, together with agriculture and production emissions, the food chain accounts for a quarter of total global man made carbon emissions.  Consumer waste is responsible for around 10% of this, and production losses account for a further 25%.

If you want to shrink your food footprint, then reducing your food waste is a great place to start.