We all know that food waste is a huge issue. We just didn’t know it was this bad.
A new study out of Edinburgh just revealed that we waste ONE FIFTH of the world’s entire food supply on dumping out food and overeating. According to the study, which was published in Agricultural Systems, about ten percent of the world’s food supply was wasted via overeating, and another nine percent was tossed out. That translates to BILLIONS of tons of food going to waste every single year.
In terms of discarded food, livestock production was the biggest waster of food, with the 840 million metric tons that get wasted in the making of cattle feed accounting for over 40% of all agricultural crops lost. Cattle feed is typically produced from crops, and what doesn’t get eaten or used up before going bad ends up getting tossed, which in this case, about 78 PERCENT of the feed gets thrown out.
What’s even more troubling about these statistics is how much of the food waste is attributed to overeating — a staggering ten percent of the world’s food supply is lost as a result of it. Just think about what that ten percent could be used for otherwise — like feeding those in the planet that are severely malnourished or food insecure (those lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food). As an example, 42.2 million Americans — about eleven percent of the population — are food insecure, with 13.3 million of those being children. If that overeaten food and wasted food could be diverted to feed the food insecure in America and around the world, we could feed and properly nourish so many more than we currently do.
The research team told ScienceDaily that ways to combat this massive waste issue would be to encourage decreased consumption of animal products, not exceeding nutritional needs when eating, and reducing or repurposing food waste.
If we can all find ways to reduce food consumption and reutilize food waste, we’ll have the ability to feed the entire planet in a sustainable manner.
We just gotta throw out less food and eat less food — both of which are definitely possible.