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IFCO Examines Global Food Waste by Country in Latest Report

IFCO Examines Global Food Waste by Country in Latest Report

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

Reducing food loss and waste is a major goal for anybody in our industry, and IFCO aims to make that a little easier. The packaging company dove deep into each country’s habits and released its findings to make food waste reduction a higher priority.

“Back in 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published an insightful but damning report titled Global Food Losses and Food Waste, estimating around one-third of the world’s food is wasted every year. This added up to a staggering 1.3 billion tons, worth almost one trillion U.S. dollars. What’s more, this global problem is costly to the planet. Food waste generates an estimated 8–10 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If food loss and food waste were classed as a country, it would rank as the third-biggest emitter of GHG emissions in the world, coming after China and the U.S.,” the company stated in its release.

IFCO recently took a deep dive into the global food loss and waste challenge, the progress we’ve made collectively, and steps to improve

Pointing to the United Nations’ food loss and waste reduction target—one of the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, known as the SDG Target 12.3—the global call to cut food loss and waste by half by 2030 stands as a key example of where we are today.

“According to the 2023 assessment of the world’s progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3, that ambitious goal to cut food waste by half is still looking elusive in every region around the globe,” IFCO stated.

IFCO noted it is stepping up to the challenge by designing reusable packaging solutions that cut food waste dramatically, citing its RPCs as reducing product damage by up to 96 percent, which cuts food waste significantly.

While consumers are often shouldered with food loss, the fresh grocery supply chain could play a stronger role in the solution, per the report, though this varies considerably from one region to the next.

“In developing countries, for instance, [food waste] tends to occur at the early stages of the food supply chain. This is often because of limitations in harvesting techniques, storage, and transport infrastructure,” IFCO stated, citing Australia, New Zealand, Central and Southern Asia, Europe, and North America—the latter clocking food loss up to around 16 percent.

Based on the 2011 Global Food Losses and Food Waste report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one of the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals was to cut food loss and waste by half by 2030, which IFCO noted is still looking elusive in every region around the globe

“Such differences indicate that food loss needs to be tackled predominantly on a country and regional level. The solutions will vary and will also depend heavily on the local conditions, the produce, transport infrastructure, and consumer behavior…Reducing food waste efficiently along the supply chain and in all our households can result in a win-win scenario. Halving food waste could help meet the demand for nutrition of our growing population. And equally minimize the negative environmental effects of agriculture. It saves lives, reduces costs, and helps protect the planet for future generations. Putting reducing food waste at the top of our priorities means having to deal less with food disposal at the end,” the company summarized.

To explore the full report, click here.

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