Half of food produced worldwide is wasted

That's as much as 2 billion tons of grub that's wasted, according to a study.
Jan 12, 2013


Up to half of the food produced worldwide never makes it into a consumer's mouth, according to a new report.

That's as much as 2 billion tons of grub that's wasted, according to a study released Thursday by Britain's Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Part of the problem is in the supply chain, in which inefficient agricultural practices, inadequate infrastructure, limited transportation options and poor storage capacity lead to squandered harvests and misused land, water and energy resources, according to researchers.

But consumers and retailers are also to blame, according to the group.

Overly strict sell-by dates means food is often thrown out before its time, the study says. The preponderance of buy-one-get-one-free offers causes households to buy more food than they can eat before it spoils. And customer demand for cosmetically perfect fruits and vegetables results in piles of scratched or misshapen -- but still nutritious -- produce ending up in the trash.

In Britain, some 30 percent of vegetable crops are left unharvested because they're not pretty enough, according to the report. In Europe and the U.S., consumers dump half of the food they buy, researchers said.

That's despite the nearly 1 billion people who go hungry globally, and the additional 3 billion mouths to feed expected by 2075.

"The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering," said Dr. Tim Fox, who heads up the energy and environment division at the engineers' group.

In a separate report this summer, the Natural Resources Defense Council said that Americans waste up to 40 percent of the country's food supply, at a cost of $165 billion. That's 20 pounds per person per month, according to the advocacy group.


By Tiffany Hsu - Los Angeles Times (MCT)

(c)2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Cliff Cannon

Sickening,isn't it ?


As my Mother used to say: The most expensive food is the stuff that you end up throwing out.

That saying has helped me to justify the buying of numerous costly food items because I knew I was gonna eat them. :)


Amazing that we Americans can feel good about the same food twice:

When we save our leftovers we feel good because we’re not being wasteful.

Then, after it’s sat in the refrigerator for a week or so and is no longer edible, we can feel good about throwing out the “science experiment.”


...our leftovers crawl out of the fridge by themselves... the ones that remain have fortified themselves behind the pickle jars and will emerge to do battle at the 4th trumpet call...



Cliff Cannon

@ TheGravyWhisperer : Thanks, you and Contango gave me a nice laugh this morning.( although, I won't be eating at your homes :)

On a serious note though considering you and Mrs. Whisperer care enough about starving children to share your money with them. Doesn't this waste drive you crazy ?

Even,worse in my viewpoint is the damage being done to the land in pursuit of food to throw away.

To wit: The drought on the high plains. Have you been following it ? This arrid land,which we did our best to destroy in the " Dust Bowl " era. Is in major trouble again owing not only to the drought,but also over use of the " Ogalla auqifer " that magicial underground river which brings life to this region.

In a recent story datelined Liberal,Kansas. ( 'Liberal',got it's name from a farmer being 'liberal' with his well water. Such is water's charm out there. ) Older farmers spoke of the auqifer being ---DOWN, some 200 feet--- since,they were young men getting started.

In some spots, the once powerful auqifer is little more than a trickle. So to put it mildly,pray for rain,snow even dew for the high plains. Other wise,the true cost of food---starvation--- will sky rocket.

And this beautiful land that is so open, that it seems to swallow you. As well as once grew grass so deep, that Coranado and his conquistadors had to shoot arrows at the sun to follow a line of march.Will once again be doomed to another--- God forbid--- 'dust bowl'


@ CC:

Spoke with a gentleman TX rancher on Sat. He said that the herds were not being replenished due to the expense of buying cattle.

Expect the price of beef to remain high for the foreseeable future. Beef futures are at record highs.

As is said in TX: Oil helped to make ranching profitable.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: I work for a farmer who has stone trucks. His family,has been in pork for decades. Yet,this year when corn hit $8 per bushel. He did exactly what your friend said was happening in Texas---he got rid of his herd.

Another local farmer I know has been in milk production for decades. This year,he has been ----losing money-- on virtually every gallon of milk he sells.

Think about it. He works hard for what 12-14 hours a day. Knowing full well,the price per hundred weight of milk was lower than his cost's. So every chore he performs,he does knowing he's losing money for doing it. That would be extremely tough to take,wouldn't it?

Here's hoping farmers everywhere discover oil on their property as well as that it rains on the high plains.


I knew of one food pantry that had to throw out fresh vegetables because none of their "clients" wanted to be bothered with preparing them. They wanted instant potatoes. A couple of times they had beets and turnips. No one took those either. Maybe we have just gotten spoiled with having to much food and not enough hunger.


Maybe the food bank needs to have cooking class on how to use these fresh vegetables. I know how to use them...but that doesn't mean that someone else does. Heck, I'd volunteer my time for that.

swiss family

I am not sure that the "clients" didn't want to be bothered preparing the food.. I do know that with all of the shoddy lawyers out there, and all of the government guidelines, and restrictions on foods.. it is not as simple and sense-able as it used to be. Before, if someone had extra food, they could give it to food banks, and other charitable organizations, and they would distribute it, but in a world where people are putting poison in Tylenol, and injecting toxins in meat in meat cases etc.. unfortunately, all common sense has gone out the window.Even at restaurants with buffets, if they were smart, they would have employees closely watching the foods. if someone uses a spoon from one entree, and puts it into another one, they actually should by all rights throw away both foods.. in case someone is allergic in the mixed foods...because it is a law suit waiting to happen.. it is sad, but true.. so I am not too sure that the reason that the food banks couldn't use the foods because of the laziness of the "clients" I think the reasoning for it is more of a legal problem..in my opinion

Brock Lee

in the war use bad food insted of bombs they will be so sick they cant fight