Food Waste Is a Massive Problem — Here's Why

Food waste is generally known as a waste of land, water, energy, and inputs, as well as an unnecessary contributing factor to climate change (FAO, 2011; FAO, 2013a, b; Kummu et al., 2012). Food losses or waste also can be referred to the food lost or wasted along the food supply chain providing edible products for consumption. According to the FAO Save Food initiative, food loss and waste ‘‘is measured only for products that are directed to human consumption, excluding feed and parts of products which are not edible’’ (FAO, 2011).

Due to the product's natural appearance and design, waste can also be a consequence of consumption habits like peeling a banana or eating potatoes with the skin on. Food waste occurs at all levels of the food system in the form of edible crops left in the field, losses through transport, food discarded in packaging, or poor stock management (Parfitt et al., 2010). Even with substantial technological improvements to keep food long-lasting over the course of the food supply chain an unnecessary amount of food is still wasted.

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A significant amount of potentially edible products are lost in the primary sector, including dead or discarded animals and wasted grain in the field.

In Denmark, 541,000 tons of foods are lost in this sector per year. These total amounts exceed that of household food waste (CONSITO, 2011). A large percentage of food wasted in this sector is due to standardization in terms of sizing, quality, and varieties demanded by stakeholders in later parts of the chain, for example, wholesalers, large kitchens, and retailers.

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Danish hypermarkets, warehouses, mini-markets, discount stores, and supermarkets create 45,676 tons of food waste per year. The majority of the food waste in the wholesale and retail sector is from fruits and vegetables, bread, and yogurt (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2011). It is because all these kinds of foods are easily perishable and usually last within for 2 weeks only.

Compulsive food hoarding is also a contributing factor to food waste. So, planning and shopping routines (Stefan et al. 2013) are crucial predictors of food waste. Over preparation (Kantor et al. 1997; Quested and Johnson 2009; Koivupuro et al. 2012; Williams et al. 2012; Beretta et al. 2013; Porpino, Parente, and Wansink 2015) and excessive purchase (Harrison et al. 1975; Koivupuro et al. 2012; Beretta et al. 2013; Ganglbauer, Fitzpatrick, and Comber 2013; Porpino et al. 2015) are the most important factors already mentioned in the literature as antecedents of wasted food.

Updated: Jul 20, 2021
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Food Waste Is a Massive Problem — Here's Why. (2020, Oct 16). Retrieved from

Food Waste Is a Massive Problem — Here's Why essay
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