1/3 Of All Food Is Wasted: UN – ABC News

We All Love Eating Out, But How Much Are We Throwing Out?

Having worked in hospitality for several years I’m all too familiar with how much food is wasted in our country. I see it at a very confronting level. I was brought up to finish every single last bit of my meals, which accounted for many painful nights forbidding me to leave the dinner table. But it taught me not waste and to show gratitude. In many cultures it is offensive or bad luck to waste to food, which is such a contrast to some of the culture I have experienced in Australia where sometimes leaving half your food on your plate is perceived as being trendy.

And it starts with the kids. I see time and time again parents ordering way too much for their children at restaurants, knowing very well they won’t finish it, which obviously teaches them from very early on that wasting food is okay. The advocacy group Do Something! have released new statistics which found that the biggest wasters were families with children as well as young adults aged 18  – 24 years and households with incomes more than $100,000/per year. If we put the waste down to a dollar value, Australian households are throwing out $8 billion of edible food every year – not to mention all the water, fuel and resources is cost to get the food to your plate.

I had a friend who loved cooking and throwing dinner parties however refused to eat left overs. This was great for us however, as we were poor students and would jump on the free food train in a heartbeat. Hell, some food even tastes better the next day! But it was something that I just could not fathom. That said, we’ve all been guilty of wasting food and it is so sad that this is the reality.

At my old work I remember this one day in particular. The chefs were slaving away, panicking and unusually nervous. They were preparing and sending out numerous giant platters of some of the most exquisite food I had ever seen. It became clear that a very important client was at stake. They presented it all to a few clients from a financial firm, who gave them a nod of approval and a waive. The menu for their event was locked down and a sigh of relief was felt amongst the kitchen. And all that food? All that delicious food in which so much heart and passion went into creating you ask? Well it was all thrown away and by a government organisation, simply because they can.


UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently released the following statistics on the global matter of food wastage:

  • About 1/3 of all food for human consumption, around 1.3 billion tonnes, is wasted, along with all the energy, water and chemicals needed to produce it + dispose of it.

  • In the industrialised world, much of the waste comes from consumers buying too much and throwing away what they do not eat. In developing countries, it is mainly the result of inefficient farming and a lack of proper storage facilities.

  • Estimated carbon footprint of wasted food is equivalent to 3.3 billion tonnes of Co2 per year

  • Estimated cost of the wasted food, excl. seafood is around $US750 billion per year

  • The wasted food consumes about 250 cubic kilometres of water and takes up about 1.4 billion hectares – much of it diverse natural habitat that has been cleared to make it arable.

  • At present there is need to raise food production by 60% in order to meet the 2050 population demand

One third  - a project on food wasteOne third  - a project on food wastePhoto credit: Klaus Pichler

See Pichler’s ‘One Third’ Project here.
See the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Food Wastage Summary Report 2013 here.
Some cool infographics by lunchalot on ‘How to Avoid Wasting Food’ here.

(Via abc news)