What Is Food Loss?

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Author: Richelle
Published: 24 Nov 2021

Food Loss in the Retail Stage

Food loss can be defined as the loss of food in the food supply chain. The food is passed through the four stages of the supply chain. Different organizations have different definitions for the same thing.

The UN has a definition of food loss. The US has defined food loss as the amount of un eaten food and food preparation waste from residences and commercial establishments. The retail stage has a lot of food loss due to the fact that there is an expired food.

Fast-food outlets and hotels have to prepare food on a daily basis without knowing how many customers they will serve. Some food goes to waste because it is left unserved. Food is wasted in four different ways at the consumption stage.

Poor cooking, leaving food on dishes and decaying food after preparing due to poor storage are some of the causes of food loss. Experts argue that if consumers could accept foods that are different in shape or color, they could reduce food loss. It is estimated that consumers industrialized countries waste over 200 million tons of food.

A person in Europe and North America waste 617 lbs of food annually, while a person in Asiand Latin America waste 529 lbs. South Asian people lose the least food. Many people in the under-developed countries are starving because of food loss.

Reducing surplus food

Reducing surplus food is a better way to see improvements. Staying at the top of the food recovery hierarchy is more important than moving to the bottom with activities like anaerobic digestion.

How to Reduce Flavor Violation

Defining FLW and suggesting ways to reduce it should distinguish avoidable FLW from unavoidable FLW. Meat bones and the skin of watermelons are not things that can be avoided by human beings. The types of foods that could have been eaten at some point in the FSC but were not, are referred to as avoidable FLW.

It is clear that the policy efforts to prevent and reduce FLW should focus on the things that are avoidable. Food policies that prevent foods from being eaten today but not eaten tomorrow being lost and wasted through ways such as temporal or spatial movement of the foods or diet could be more effective in reducing FLW. The last stage of FSC is considered more harmful for FW.

Food travels along the FSC and resources are required to move it from stage to stage. FLW that occurs at the last stage requires more resources. A large portion of FLW occurs at the last stage of the FSC in developed countries.

Targeting FW interventions at the consumption stage may result in a reduction in waste and a decrease in the environmental impacts of FW. Product quality at the production stage depends on agronomic practices, diseases, and education. Poor practices can lead to high FL.

Post-harvest FL for fruits and vegetables can be caused by pre-harvest pest invasion, as some of the pests begin to appear after harvest. Poor practice and lack of knowledge can cause FL in meat production. Selecting the right variety that is adapted to a given location and meeting market requirements is one of the main causes of FL.

Composting: An Eco-Efficient Way to Compose Food Waste

The post-harvest chain is affected by the loss of produce. They can be caused by a variety of factors. Losses are a waste of food, but they also represent a waste of human effort, farm inputs, livelihoods, investments, and scarce resources such as water.

In some cases, the harvest may be sold to consumers. In others, losses or waste can be significant. Food waste is usually managed by the same governmental organization as other waste collection in areas where the waste collection is a public function.

General waste is combined with food waste. The advantage of separate collections is that they can be used in different ways than other waste. In the United States, companies find better uses for generators of food and beverage waste.

Large quantities of fish, meat, dairy and grain are discarded annually at a global scale, when they can be used for other things. The feeding of food scraps or slop to animals such as pigs or chickens is the most common way of dealing with household food waste. The animals turn two thirds of their food into gas or fecal waste, while the last third is used to make meat or dairy products.

There are different ways to grow and feed livestock. Composting is an economical and eco-friendly way to compost waste. Instead of being thrown away, it could be put in a bag and added to garden beds.

Population Education: A New Approach to Food Loss

A staggering 1.3 billion metric tons of food is lost or wasted every year, and thirty percent of it is made for human consumption. Reducing food loss and waste is critical for social, economic and environmental progress and well-being, because of the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change and the increase in food insecurity. The goal of the United Nations is to cut food waste by half by the year 2030.

Different solutions are needed to address problems at different stages of the journey since food loss can happen at various points before reaching consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in shipments and reduced worker capacity, which resulted in more spoiled and lost food. Food waste is a problem.

In the US, only 6 percent of food waste was composted. The EPA says that the largest category of waste inside the US is sent to landfills. Methane is a major greenhouse gas and is a contributor to climate change.

Population Education provides K-12 teachers with innovative, hands-on lesson plans and professional development to teach about human population growth and its effects on the environment and human well-being. Population Connection is a program of Pop Ed. Learn more about poped.

Towards an improved coordination of FLW issues

Some of the FLW issues could be addressed by improving coordination among actors. Investments infrastructure and transportation could be part of the measures to reduce FLW. Small-scale farmers could be supported by improved financing and credit to allow them to scale up their production.

Food Loss and Waste in the United States

In the United States, over one-third of the food is lost or wasted. Opportunities for improved food security, economic growth, and environmental prosperity are available when food is thrown away. The USDA is uniquely positioned to address the problem of food loss and waste through its programs, policies, and guidance.

Food Loss: A Problem for a Group of Different People

Reducing produce food loss comes at a cost. Industry adoption of food loss initiatives may be more likely when reducing food loss is considered with improving farm income. It is difficult to gather data on a hard-to-define concept like food loss from a group of different people. Some opportunities to reduce food losses and improve farm income have emerged, despite the fact that national estimates of food loss on the farm and at the pre-retail level constitute a significant investment.

Climate Change and the World Leaders

The world leaders are in Paris to agree on a global agenda for tackling climate change. Energy generation, transportation fuels, forest preservation and food production are some of the issues addressed. Reducing food loss and waste is one area that needs more attention.

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