Food Loss and Waste around the World

MakeWealthHistory has just published an excellent post this week about the loss or waste of food produced for human consumption.

It dismays me to read that between 1/4 and a 1/3 of all food is lost or wasted. Those two words ‘lost’ and ‘wasted’ are very important because they reveal a difference between Developed countries and Developing countries. Quoting from MakeWealthHistory:

“Food loss is the bigger problem in developing countries, and “typically occurs at the production, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing stages of the food value chain. It is the unintended result of technical limitations or poor infrastructure.”

Food waste on the other hand, “typically takes place at the retail and consumption stages of the food value chain, the result of a conscious decision to throw food away.””

56% of the food is lost in Developed countries with 44% from Developing countries. Bear in mind though, that only one in seven of the world’s population is found in Developed countries.

I’ll let you read MakeWealthHistory‘s post for yourself but basically we waste in the West and lose in the poorer countries. One is due to affluence; the other, poverty.

Read the post here:

Food Waste and Loss


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15 Responses to Food Loss and Waste around the World

  1. Maya says:

    Well! We all think of NOT wasting the food but unfortunately there are times when we couldn’t actually avoid it. It takes certain amount of time to get accustomed to the habit of STRICTLY NOT WASTING the food and it is not an impossible task though. Am trying my best for myself now and lets hope that once there is a systematic control over our own self then slowly it can be spread.

    Such a nice thought to be shared Ken! 🙂


    • Thank you Maya, glad you enjoyed it.
      Actually, I do know people who manage virtually nil wastage of food. It is possible. Composting waste turns it into fertilizer, for a start off, but also in Bangladesh I knew many who made use of almost every part in some form or other.
      Thanks for commenting!


  2. I’m aware of food waste around the world. On a small scale, I own a couple of food outlets (another one of my businesses). Food needs to be made ahead of schedule, where you need to forecast the amount of customers you are likely to receive that day. As I like to order fresh food and have it delivered on the day, food waste is far greater than if I order for few days at a time – but then I’m compromising the freshness of my food and therefore risking it with my customers and the whole ethos of my business.

    That said, I have put in place mechanisms which limit this. It is, at times, costly – in the sense that it does not make me any revenue but the opposite – I loose money. This is my operation, but for those on a larger scale – like outlets with few more or hundreds more – I hate to this the amount of food they waste – because I know for sure, they won’t have my processes in place to ensure food isn’t wasted as much.

    Thanks for sharing this information.


    • Yeah I appreciate that as a business manager and employer, you have a responsibility to maintain high standards and good service for your customers and this involves waste.
      I think we need a whole paradigm shift in our thinking as a Western culture which involves all of us in every position committing to eliminating waste. I think we all know it has to come and it is good that you are already making sacrifices to limit waste.
      I long for a day where customers will demand such things over quality of food and so, instead of top quality food being the concern, demonstrably proving lowest waste per head in your area will be the top selling factor for your product.
      I wonder if that will ever come?


  3. it is really painful to see food go to waste, or water for that matter. and we waste a lot of both.


  4. Addie says:

    I don’t claim to be living in affluence, but I’m guilty of wasting food. Thanks for sharing the article, Ken. Woke me up.


    • I think we all are Addie – it’s weird that in Bangladesh I found it easier NOT to waste food but here in the UK it’s almost impossible not to be wasteful. I really don’t like it…


  5. Avoiding or reducing food waste is largely within each individual’s control. Yet, we see food waste happening in countries where large sections of the population are affected by poverty and hunger. It would be interesting, perhaps eye-opening, to know the food wasted per food waster in developed countries as compared to the food wasted per food waster in developing countries.

    Avoiding or reducing food loss is definitely not as simple, but it needs to be done on top priority in developing countries.


  6. That is so very true, especially in the developing countries, where there is extreme differences in wealth among the people. One person’s wastage could be another’s meal!


  7. renxkyoko says:

    My parents have taught us not to waste food. They say to think of millions of chirldren who go to bed hungry. But I know Americans are the most wasteful in the whole world, like you won’t believe it. It’s because they have not seen REAL poverty.


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