We are a nation that takes food for granted.
That’s the consensus of a new study published by The UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) reporting that half of all food ends up in the trash every year.
Engineers of IMecheE place the blame on food advertisements like “buy-one-get-one-free” deals, excessive sell-by dates, the demand for perfect looking food, poor food storage facilities, and poor engineering and agricultural practices.
It’s an embarrassing reality to face when the United Nations (UN) has predicted there are 3 billion people world-wide going hungry.
The IMechE report, “Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not” found that 30 to 50 percent of food produced for consumption never makes it onto a plate before it spoils or is thrown out.
More than 30 percent of vegetable crops in the UK are not harvested due to their failure to meet retailers’ perfectionist standards, and up to half the food purchased in Europe and the US is thrown away before it can be consumed by buyers.
It’s not just food being wasted either. IMechE reports water and energy sources are also being wasted. They predict “demand for water in food production could reach 10–13 trillion cubic meters a year by 2050.”
Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the IMechE, states “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water, and energy resources that were used in the production, processing, and distribution of this food.”
IMechE is urging governments and development agencies like the UN to discourage the wasteful practice of throwing out food and to change people’s mindset regarding “cosmetically pleasing” looking food when so many are going hungry.