As much as 50% of all food produced worldwide is wasted, a new report claimed today (10 January). 

According to researchers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, various issues – from inadequate infrastructure and storage facilities to overly strict sell by dates and buy-one-get-one-free offers – contribute to the issue of food waste, with around 2bn tonnes of all food produced failing to reach human stomachs.

In the UK, as much as 30% of the vegetable crop is wasted because it fails to meet the “exacting standards” of retailers.

In the report, Global food; waste not, researchers highlighted growing pressure on the food chain from rising populations and increasing resource scarcity. The Institution called for “urgent action” to tackle this waste.

The report suggested that there is the potential to provide 60-100% more food by eliminating losses and waste while at the same time freeing up land, energy and water resources.

“The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food,” Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said.

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Fox called for a collaborative effort to reduce waste: “Governments, development agencies and organisation like the UN must work together to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices by farmers, food producers, supermarkets and consumers.”