Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Waste and resource use

Food waste is common in both developing and developed countries. Estimates of the scale of waste and loss are between 30% to 40% of all food produced. Waste loss occurs during production, distribution and at the consumer stage. In richer nations, more food is wasted at the consumer level than in poorer countries: in Europe, an average of 95 kg of food is thrown out by each consumer each year. In developing countries much produce is lost due to a lack of suitable packaging and storage facilities (so called post-harvest losses). According to the FAO, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) a year as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes). Food waste also represents a waste of all the embedded resources involved in producing it (land, water, fossil fuel inputs, agro chemicals) and in this sense is also a source of 'unnecessary' GHG emissions.

15 October 2013

The UK based organization WRAP (Waste Reduction Action Plan) has released a new report which concludes that £6.9 billion worth of food, drink and packaging waste occurs in the grocery retail supply chain. The report identifies where in the sector the waste arises, what the waste is, and how it is managed. It also concludes that the waste totals 7% of the value of food and drink sales to households and argues that if the money was instead used for increasing exports or investment it would both help individual businesses and the economy to grow.

7 October 2013

This book discusses the implications of the financial credit crunch for consumers and food spending. The authors argue that the credit crunch is having an impact not only on short term food prices but also on the sustainability of the food system.  The economic changes we experience now are said to have a bearing on our ability to manage the environmental credit crunch that looms. The authors conclude that a significant and positive difference could be made by changing some of the ways in which we procure, prepare, and consume our food.

7 October 2013

This report from Global Food Security programme (GFS) entitled ‘Food waste within global food systems’ discusses how reduction of losses and waste throughout the entire food system can contribute to achieving global food security. It provides an independent assessment of the issues around food waste in developing and developed countries and suggests a number of potential future research priorities across the food supply chain.

26 September 2013

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the process of energy production through the production of biogas from agricultural and other organic waste. This book provides a broad introduction to AD and its potential to turn agricultural crops or crop residues, animal and other organic waste, into biomethane.

17 September 2013

Approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted.  This FAO report argues that this waste represents a missed opportunity to improve global food security, and to mitigate the environmental impacts resulting from the food supply chain.

8 July 2013

This working paper from the World Resources Institute (WRI) prepared for the forthcoming World Resources Report discusses how the increased demand for food in the future should be met and the various overlapping crises that are impacting the planet's capacity to produce food.  It warns of an imminent global food crises unless changes are made in global industrial agriculture. 

 Flickr: Creative commons licence 2.0, littleyiye "workshop"
2 July 2013

Following the release last year of the report on ‘Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture’ by the FCRN and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, around 30 experts in this field, from academic, governmental, NGO and industrial organisations, were asked to give their comments on the report.

2 July 2013

UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD PRESS RELEASE
A policy known as sustainable intensification could help meet the challenges of increasing demands for food from a growing global population, argues a team of scientists in an article in the journal Science.

24 June 2013

Two videos on food waste and recycling.

24 June 2013

Wise up on Waste is the name of a new mobile app from Unilever that was launched recently to assist professional restaurant and catering kitchens to monitor and track their food waste.

21 May 2013

Due to Nepal’s large energy deficit where supply shortfalls and interrupted power affect both household and the national industry, the country is now looking for energy alternatives such as using its growing urban and industrial waste.

22 April 2013

This video, prepared for the World Water Day 2012 shows the critical impact water energy and investment repercussion for both land and people. It discusses food waste and what it means in terms of water waste.

22 April 2013

Think.Eat.Save. is a campaign of the Save Food Initiative and a partnership between UNEP, FAO and Messe Düsseldorf in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge.

22 April 2013

The authors of this study looked at the impact of measures introduced by Scandinavia’s largest hotel chain to reduce food waste.  Plate sizes were reduced while signs were also posted encouraging customers to help themselves to food more than once (ie. signalling that they didn’t have to overload their plates the first time because they could always come back for more): the effect of these measures in combination was a 20% reduction in food waste.

25 March 2013

This paper finds that the water footprint of agricultural products (a definition that presumably includes non-food products) accounts for 91% of the EU’s production-related water footprint and 89% of its consumption related footpint. It argues that much more water can be saved by modifying diets and reducing food waste than through the traditional water-saving routes highlighted in mainstream awareness raising campaigns. The paper echoes others that find animal products to be particularly water intensive.

11 March 2013

Plantwise is an initiative, led by CABI, to improve food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses. Plantwise has been initiated to help developing countries set up and run community based plant clinics staffed by ‘plant doctors’ that deliver free plant health advice to farmers.

25 February 2013

A report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been published , focusing on the environmental problems caused by nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrient flows and identifying the actions that could be taken to reduce excessive nutrient use.  The research was led by Mark Sutton at the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and carried out by 50 exports from 14 countries.

11 February 2013

In December 2012 Chatham House (The Royal Institute for International Affairs) produced a report, Resource Futures, which presented the findings of a major into the shifting global political economy of key resources (land, water, energy, minerals and food), analysing their inter-linkages in production, use and trade.

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