Food wasted by consumers is an enormous economic problem and countries should ensure excess food is given to the hungry instead of being thrown away, according to agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 leading countries, as reported by Reuters.
The ministers were meeting for a two-day meeting in Istanbul that focused on problems of food security and nutrition, such as the impact of global warming. Reducing food waste could improve food security, the they concluded.
Around 1.3 billion tons of food — close to 30 percent of global production — is lost or wasted annually, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said last year. To put this into perspective, this could easily feed the world’s 800 million hungry.
In developing countries, food often is lost due to improper storage or transportation — in wealthy nations it typically is wasted. To reduce food waste, countries need better estimates of the amount of food they waste, as well as the economic impact of food loss, the G20 ministers said.
In the United Kingdom, some 850,000 tons of edible food are tossed out each year. That is why Iglo Group, Europe’s largest frozen food company, recently launched a coalition with leading waste reduction charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), with the objective of reducing food waste across Europe. The coalition launched iFreeze, a campaign which highlights that European households waste an average of €260 of food every year, and provides advice and tips on how increased use of both freezing and frozen food can help to reduce waste and save money.
In March, WRAP published a report estimating that an increase on product life of just one day across a range of foods could prevent roughly 250,000 tons of food waste each year.