How Much Food Is Wasted Worldwide?

More than one-third of the world's food produced for human consumption is wasted — that's more than billion tons of food per year, more than 200 million tons of which is wasted by consumers in wealthy countries. To put that in perspective, the amount of food wasted in wealthy countries is about as much as the net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.

More facts about food waste:

  • Consumers in North America and Europe throw away more than 200 pounds (more than 90 kg) of food per person per year. Those in sub-Saharan Africa or Asia throw away only 13-20 pounds (about 6-9 kg) of food a year. Americans throw away about one-third of the food they buy.

  • Though a lot of food waste happens on the consumer level, retailers and food producers waste a lot of food as well because of the emphasis on foods that looks good.

  • According to a study by the United Nations, a major source of food waste is "buy one get one free" sales, which tend to lead to consumers buying more than they can use and then throwing away the excess.
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Discussion Comments


Somalia is now a modern world of poverty, hunger and famine. The situation is dire and resembles that of Ethiopia in the previous two decades. The question that comes to mind, in a capitalist society, is why are producing a lot of food (most of which goes to waste) and yet we have a lot of poverty in the world? Take a normal plate with repeated supplies of the same nutrients carbs, carbs, sugar, sugar and alcohol. Is it not time we take care of others who are needy around the world? Don't food scientists and technologists care about situation in countries that experience poverty and famine? What is their view? Where do their inventions end?


Interesting, especially when you consider how many people in the world are starving! Another way of looking at it is to consider how much food is grown solely for factory farming. Not only is this practice immoral to other species, but it is an inefficient way to produce food. It takes far more produce grown to produce the same amount of meat. This wasted produce could feed lots of people. In fact, some experts estimate if Americans ate 10 percent less meat and we took the food that would have been fed that small portion of saved animals and fed it to humans, we could feed all of the starving children in poor countries.

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