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It is projected that the population will reach to more than 9 billion by 2050. With this burgeoning number of people, it is crucial that food loss and waste must be reduced in order to generate food for this population.
According to a 2013-2014 World Resources Report, 24 percent of all food calories produced today are not consumed. The good news is that there are inexpensive methods that people can do to save food in both developing and the developed nations. Reducing Food Loss and Waste, WRI’s new working paper, has enumerated a number of these strategies.
Enhance storage methods
Food loss can be drastically reduced if simple, low-cost storage methods are implemented. This is helpful for small-scale farmers in third world nations who often lose food to transportation damage, spoilage, and pests. Purdue University researchers developed a system where grain is stored in three interlocking plastic bags that keep out pests and allows grain to be fresh for months. The Food and Agriculture Organization has assembled an estimated 45,000 small, metal storage silos in 16 different nations.
Share excess food
It is a known fact that some food never gets consumed. Possibilities include a farmer not being able to harvest an entire field or a grocer took excess orders and cannot sell these at all. This kind of food loss and waste can be reduced by sharing this excess food to food banks and similar community groups. SecondBite, an Australian organization, redistributed 3,000 metric tons of food in 2012 to community food banks.
Improve food date labels
People tend to get confused with date labels that state “use-by,” “sell-by,” and “best-before” that results to throwing of food that is still in good condition. The Waste and Resources Programme (WRAP) conducted a survey in the United Kingdom that found 20 percent of food thrown out by households was erroneously thought of as being out of date.
Confusion can be reduced if retailers remove certain date labels. This includes removing “sell-by” dates in the United States. Tesco has pioneered a plan in which “display until” dates are removed from packages and revised to a “use by” date. Customers receive this change well that led to less waste at the store level.
Decrease portion sizes
Restaurants that serve buffets or huge portion sizes often have large amounts of food waste. Customers often are not able to consume all of the meals they order. Thus, restaurants can decrease food waste as well as their operating costs by offering smaller sizes in their menu.
Academic institutions have implemented creative ways to reduce this kind of waste. Michigan’s Grand Valley State University pioneered a tray-less system in its cafeterias. The University found out that students can no longer load up trays with food. Students were wasting 56 pounds of food lesser than the previous year.
Hold consumer awareness campaigns
Consumer awareness campaigns show the actual food people waste and offer simple solutions in order to cut down food waste. Grocers can initiate these campaigns. The Co-operative Group in the UK print tips on storing fruits and vegetables directly on their plastic produce bags. Programs like cooking classes and information booths sponsored by community groups and local governments also offer consumers with information that reduces waste.
The world requires an additional 60 percent more calories per year by 2050 to feed 9 billion people. The food gap will largely be decreased by 22 percent if current food loss and waste levels are cut in half.