The Food Waste Index Report 2021 was recently released by the UNEP.
Even though the world produces enough food to feed twice the world’s present population, food wastage is ironically behind the billions of people who are starving.
Food Waste Index
- The Food Waste Index is released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partner organisation WRAP.
- It measures tons of wasted food per capita, considering a mixed stream of products from processing through to consumption.
- It was prepared by using data from 54 countries and then extrapolated to the remaining countries.
- Contrary to belief, the study by the UNEP revealed that food waste was a global problem and not that of just the developed world.
Highlights of the 2021 report
- The report has revealed that 17 per cent of all food available at consumer levels was wasted in 2019.
- That year, some 690 million people had to go hungry.
- The food waste amounted to a whopping 931 million tonnes of food sold to households, retailers and restaurants.
- Waste at household, foodservice and retail amounted to 79, 26 and 13 kilogram /capita / year respectively.
- The data, though scarce, revealed that food waste was substantial, regardless of income level.
Data on India
- The report notes that food waste at the consumer level happens in almost every country, regardless of income level.
- In South Asia, while 50 kilograms of food is wasted per person each year at the household level in India.
- Others include- 65 kilograms of this happening in Bangladesh, 74 kilograms in Pakistan, 76 kilograms in Sri Lanka, 79 kilograms in Nepal and 82 kilograms in Afghanistan.
Why it is important to prevent food wastage?
- Food waste also has a substantial environmental, social and economic impact.
- Food loss and waste cause about $940 billion per year in economic losses. Reductions can save money for farmers, companies, and households.
- For example, 8-10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed.
- Reducing food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money.