Food wastage is discarded or uneaten food which is fit for human consumption. There are many causes, accidental or intentional, of food waste, which occur at various stages of the food supply chain: production, processing, retailing and consumption. The bulk of food waste in developed economies takes place in the distribution, retail and consumption stages of the supply chain. An alarming amount of food purchased by people in the UAE is surplus to their needs. The issue of eliminating food waste while simultaneously alleviating hunger is critical today, especially when considering that there are 200,000 children born every day in food-deprived households, and many more residing in rural and underprivileged areas.
Reports by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicate that approximately one-third of the world’s food is being wasted, which is equivalent to about 1.3 billion tonnes of food annually.
The cost of food wasted annually is almost one trillion dollars.
The cost of discarding food waste is approximately $410 billion annually.
Global food waste proportions are estimated at 30% grain crops, 40-50% fruits and vegetables, 20% seed oils, meat and dairy products, and 35% fish.
There are almost one billion hungry people in the world right now.
If only one quarter of the food wasted was saved, it would feed about 870 million hungry people across the world.
Consumers in rich countries waste approximately 222 million tonnes of food yearly, which is almost equivalent to the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (estimated at 230 million tonnes per year).
Consumers in Europe and North America waste approximately 95-115 kg of food a year per capita, while consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia, each throw 6-11 kg annually.
The amount of food produced for consumption in developed countries is approximately 900 kg per year per capita, almost twice the amount of food produced in the poorest regions, which is estimated at 460 kg annually.
The amount of food wasted in the European Union and in the USA is approximately 89 and 60 million tonnes per year respectively. In France and the UK, the amount of food wasted per year is estimated to be 7.1 and 7 million tonnes respectively.
Side effects of food waste include wasting valuable resources including water, cultivated land, energy, labour and capital.