A recent report in the Guardian’s Environment section said that 1.3bn tonnes of food, about a third of all that is produced, is wasted every year. This includes about 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat.
“In developed countries, consumers and retailers throw away between 30% and 40% of all food purchased, whereas in poorer countries only 5% to 16% of food is thrown away. According to a 2011 report, in Europe and North America each person wasted 95-115kg of otherwise edible food annually, whereas in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia the equivalent waste was just 6-11kg. In the developing world, food waste is virtually nonexistent,” says Robert van Otterdijk, coordinator of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Save Food programme.
Food waste is happening in countries where people can afford to throw away food. One statistic is that the amount of food wasted by consumers in industrialised countries [222m tonnes a year] is almost the same as the total net food production of sub-Saharan Africa [230m tonnes]. But food losses, on the other hand, are really rampant in developing countries because of the underdeveloped conditions they have, from management of production to transportation and distribution.”