Brassica gleaning

The Global Food Waste Scandal

Keen to learn more about global food waste?

Watch this short animated video written and narrated by Feedback Founder Tristram Stuart:

Watch Stuart’s TED talk, The Global Food Waste Scandal:

Food Waste Facts

A THIRD of the world’s entire food supply could be saved by reducing waste – or enough to feed 3 billion people; and this would still leave enough surplus for countries to provide their populations with 130 per cent of their nutritional requirements. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

IN PERHAPS the most landmark study on international food waste, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation claims that “roughly one-third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption, gets lost or wasted globally, which is about 1.3 billion ton per year.” FAO 2011, Global Food Losses and Food Waste

ESTIMATES OF global food waste have been as high as 30 or 50 per cent. While food waste estimates are based on what has variously been described as “based on a weak evidence base” and “inadequate and dated” “there is little doubt that the scale is substantial”. The Government Office for Science 2011, Foresight: The Future of Food and Farming

THE FAO estimates that every year, the production of food that is wasted generates “3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases” and uses up to “1.4 billion hectares of land – 28 per cent of the world’s agricultural area”. Moreover, “globally, the blue water footprint for the agricultural production of total food waste in 2007 is about 250km3, which is more than 38 times the blue water footprint of USA households. FAO 2013, Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources

IF WASTAGE levels by consumers of around a quarter of all food is representative – as found by WRAP’s study in the UK and by the Department of Agriculture in the US – this would suggest that 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in these countries comes from producing, transporting, storing and preparing food that is never eaten.  Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

IN THE United Kingdom households waste around 22 per cent of all the food they buy – but the good news is that there has been a 21 per cent reduction since 2007!  WRAP 2012, Household Food and Drink Waste in the United Kingdom

4600 KILOCALORIES per day of food are harvested for every person on the planet; of these, only around 2000 on average are eaten – more than half of it is lost on the way.  Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Fruit and Vegetable Waste Facts

SINCE  the launch of Feeding the 5000’s campaign on wonky vegetables, vegetables that would have been wasted in the past have become the fastest growing sector of the fresh produce market.  From 2012-13 the relaxation of cosmetic standards saved 300,000 tonnes of produce from being wasted on UK farms.  BBC 2012

AN ESTIMATED 20 to 40 per cent of UK fruit and vegetables are rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards.  Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Fish Waste Facts

2.3 MILLION tonnes of fish is discarded in the North Atlantic and the North Sea each year; 40 to 60 per cent of all fish caught in Europe is discarded – either because they are the wrong size, species, or because of the ill-governed European quota system. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Meat and Dairy Waste Facts  

AT LEAST 20 times more carbon dioxide can be saved by feeding food waste to pigs rather than sending it for anaerobic digestion. But under European laws feeding much food waste to pigs is banned. In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, by contrast, it is mandatory to feed some food waste to pigs. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

8.3 MILLION HECTARES OF LAND is required to produce just the meat and dairy project wasted in UK homes and in US homes, shops and restaurants. That is seven times the amount of Amazon rainforest destroyed in Brazil in one year, largely for cattle grazing and soy production to export for livestock feed.  Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Grain Waste Facts

THE BREAD and other cereal products thrown away in UK households alone is been enough to lift 30 million of the world’s hungry people out of malnourishment. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Water Waste Facts

THE IRRIGATION water used globally to grow food that is wasted would be enough for the domestic needs (at 200 litres per person per day) of 9 billion people – the number expected on the planet by 2050. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

IF 25 per cent of the world’s food supplies are being unnecessarily wasted, this represents a loss of water withdrawn by farmers from rivers, lakes and wells (irrigation water only, not rain) amounting to approximately 675 litres, or easily enough for the household needs of 9 billion people using 200 litres a day. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Hunger Facts

ALL THE world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

THERE ARE around one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tonnes of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

THERE IS an estimated 15 million tonnes of food wasted in Britain from the plough to the plate. Tristram Stuart 2009, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

IN 2010, 925 million people were undernourished. Moreover, recent volatility in food prices has led to food price spikes, and during these periods the number undernourished is even higher – in 2009, for instance, 1.023 billion people were undernourished. FAO 2010, Global hunger declining, but still unacceptably high