Food wastage is a global problem. In the words of United Nation’s (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva:
“We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million people go hungry every day.”
Besides the obvious economic losses, food wastage not only puts a pressure on global food security, but also presents itself as a lost opportunity to alleviate environmental impact and reduce the strain on our limited resources in the world.
It was projected that global food output would have to increase by 60% to support the increasing global population by 2050. Should global food wastage be better managed, food production processes would be able to provide for the increased global population with significantly smaller increases in output, thereby lessening the concomitant environmental impact.
To aid governments, corporations and individuals in the management of food wastage at every level of the supply chain, the FAO has published a comprehensive “tool-kit”, along with its Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources report. The “tool-kit” then breaks down the solutions into three main categories, specifically, “Reduce food wastage”, “Re-use within human food chain” in cases of food surplus and “Recycling and Recovery” when re-use is not possible.
Food loss: the decrease in mass (dry matter) or nutritional value (quality) of food that was originally intended for human consumption. This is mainly caused by the inefficiencies in the food supply chain, such as poor infrastructure and logistics, lack of access to markets, or even natural disasters.
Food waste: food appropriate for human consumption being discarded, whether or not after it is kept beyond it expiry date or left to spoil.
Food wastage: any food lost after deterioration to waste. This term, therefore, encompasses both food loss and food waste.
For the purpose of this project, however, we will only be discussing issues with regards to food waste in Singapore.