Why Food Waste is Such a Big Issue

You are probably aware of the massive food shortages that so many countries are facing. Most people tend to attribute this to overpopulation, but the truth of the matter is that we produce a lot of food, more than enough to feed pretty much every person in the world. The only problem is that we tend to waste a lot of the food that we produce.

Food wastage is a huge problem, one that is a lot bigger than you might think. People generally assume that about ten to fifteen percent of food ends up getting wasted, but in truth the number is closer to forty percent in wealthy countries such as Canada and America. When almost half of the food being produced ends up getting wasted, you are inevitably going to end up having a shortage on your hands. The food that is being wasted is perfectly healthy and edible, it is just the way capitalist systems work that makes it impossible to utilize all of it. If you look at it in terms of money the situation looks even more dire, because in the US alone about 160 billion dollars of food is wasted every single year.

There are a variety of factors that influence food waste. One example is that we tend to get more food than we need and end up wasting food that we have not eaten after a little while. Markets also tend to stock food based on its aesthetics, so perfectly edible vegetables that look ugly are going to end up getting wasted. Sell by dates also have an impact on this. Companies are encouraged to print sell by dates that are nowhere near the actual expiry dates of food. Hence, you might end up throwing milk out that would have been good for several days during which you or someone else might have used it.

The thing is, food waste is going to have an impact that goes beyond people going hungry. Food that is produced requires water to produce it, so we are wasting water as well. The production of food leaves a carbon footprint which wreaks havoc on the environment. When so much food is wasted, more needs to be produced in order to keep up with demand. This requires more water and produces even more of a carbon footprint.

Regulations are required in order to make sure food waste goes down. One thing people can do is follow official dietary guidelines. This would prevent them from buying too much food. It is also recommended that you buy from farmer’s markets rather than supermarkets which would only stock aesthetically appealing food. Change is necessary, but people are going to have to take part in it actively if they want it to happen. Once food waste starts to go down, a lot of the problems humanity is facing are going to go away completely, so it is important that we start working on this.

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