Showing results for: Post-harvest losses
This piece in the New Food Economy explores why the US cranberry industry has collectively agreed to destroy one quarter of its harvest, but will not ask any farmers to scale back production. A surplus of cranberries on the market means that prices are being driven below the cost of production. The agreement to destroy a portion of the harvest means that prices will rise again. Unlike other industries, which are regulated by antitrust laws, farmers are allowed to make collective agreements such as this under the Capper–Volstead Act.
The World Wildlife Fund has released a report measuring on-farm crop waste at various locations in the United States. During the 2017-18 growing season, 40% of tomatoes, 39% of peaches, 2% of potatoes and 56% of romaine lettuce were left in the field. Causes of waste at the farm stage include strict quality standards, damage due to weather, variable consumption patterns and unpredictable labour supply. Some growers pointed out, however, that the nutrients in on-farm waste food are almost always recycled, e.g. as animal feed or by ploughing the waste back into the field.
A new edible and almost invisible coating could extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetables and help farmers sell more of their crops, reports Civil Eats. The maker of the coating, Apeel Sciences, says that the coating is made from fats that can be derived from the peel, seeds and pulp of “any kind of fruit or vegetable”. Apeel Sciences claims that the coating can double the lifespan of produce, even without refrigeration.
A report by Friends of the Earth Europe finds that plastic food packaging is not a solution to growing levels of food waste in Europe, contrary to some claims that packaging can reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of foods. For example, using packaging to group food together in larger packs could encourage customers to buy more food than necessary. Another example is that green beans are often cut to fit into the packaging, causing losses of 30 to 40%.
US grocers focus more on donating and recycling food waste than on preventing it, reports the Centre for Biological Diversity. The report scored 10 US grocery chains and the UK supermarket Tesco on food waste reduction commitments, policies and actions.
Where in the world is the most expensive plate of food? In this publication the World Food Programme calculates the relative price of a nutritious meal in countries around the globe when compared to the average daily income and finds that the world’s poorest would have to pay more than a day’s wages for a single plate of sufficient food.
This paper shows that a huge amount of nutrients is wasted each day in the US food supply, and that much of this waste includes important nutrients that are currently under-consumed in the US. It is one of the first studies to calculate the nutritional value of food wasted in the US at the retail and consumer levels, shining a light on just how much protein, fibre and other important nutrients end up in the landfill in a single year.
This paper looks at how we can achieve greater food and nutrition security in a sustainable manner by reducing waste and it also analyses how losses impact overall food system efficiency. It quantifies the food wasted throughout the food chain (10 stages) from primary production to human food consumption and also looks at the impact of livestock production on both food system biomass efficiency and feed crop losses. The paper defines wasted food energy of livestock production in terms of its poor efficiency in feed conversion ratios (ie. only some of the feed livestock consume end up as meat and dairy, with the rest loss via respiration, dung and urine).
A new study submitted to us by an FCRN member discusses the virtual land footprint associated with regional supply capacities.
A set of papers from the First International Conference on Global Food Security is now available online. The conference attracted 600 participants from 65 countries. All of the papers in the special issue are open access for the first year and available here.
In her first report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver, said that a human-rights based approach to food security is necessary to provide access to affordable, nutritious food for all and to eliminate hunger. The report describes renewed political commitment as essential to advance the right to adequate food.
The following two reports deal with food waste costs and mitigation. The first report focuses on costs and introduces a methodology that allows for full-cost accounting (FCA) of the food waste footprint, including costs associated with the environmental impacts of food waste. The FCA framework incorporates market based evaluations of the direct financial costs, non-market valuation of lost ecosystem goods and services and well-being valuation to assess the social costs associated with natural resource degradation.
In this feature on Food Choices & Health, the United States Department of Agriculture and Economic Research Service (ERS) discusses food loss and food waste and points out the distinction in meaning between the two. They describe food loss as includes moisture loss and cooking shrinkage; loss from mould, pests, or inadequate climate control; and food waste.