Stop Food Loss and Waste. For the People. For the Planet


Boats laden with fresh food.

Floating market on a canal in Bangkok, where local boats are laden with fresh food. | PHOTO:©Mint Images

The COVID-19 pandemic continues generating significant challenges to food security in many countries. Disruptions in supply chains, quarantine measures, the closure of much of the hospitality industry and schools…

All these measures have resulted in a loss of markets for producers and distributors, making the situation even more challenging while dealing with high levels of food waste.

At the downstream end of the supply chain, with panic buying and stockpiling by consumers, supermarkets, which are often key donors to food banks, struggled to keep their shelves stocked and are unable to donate food.

Meanwhile, much of the food purchased by households was discarded as food waste, because of a misunderstanding of date marking and improper storage of these household food items.

We need to be aware of the importance of the issue of food loss and waste now more than ever in order to promote and implement our global efforts towards resolving it.

That is why, in 2019, the 74th United Nations General Assembly designated 29 September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, recognizing the fundamental role that sustainable food production plays in promoting food security and nutrition.

Doubtless, this new International Day faces a lot of challenges to achieve our goals of “Responsible consumption and production”, which will contribute to the fight for Zero Hunger and against Climate Change.

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Download our material and spread the word

FAO has an official page for the Observance where you can let them know about your event, download the logo and other social media materials in different languages, check the guide that will help you to spread the message, or just get more information about this global problem of food waste and food loss.

Reducing food losses and waste is essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and tons and tons of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day.

When food is loss or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food -, including water, land, energy, labour and capital – go to waste. In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills, leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

That is the reason why this first theme for the new Observance will be “Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet.”

Actions are required globally and locally to maximize the use of the food we produce. The introduction of technologies, innovative solutions (including e-commerce platforms for marketing, retractable mobile food processing systems), new ways of working and good practices to manage food quality and reduce food loss and waste are key to implementing this transformative change.

Reducing food loss and waste requires the attention and actions of all, from food producers, to food supply chain stakeholders, to food industries, retailers and consumers.

Did you know?

  • One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tonnes per year.
  • In the case of fruits and vegetables, almost half (45%) is wasted.
  • It takes 13 litres of water to grow 1 tomato and 50 litres of water to produce one orange. It also takes seeds, soil, labour of farmers and even the fuel that goes into transporting the food. All of these resources are lost when the fruit (pun intended) of these labours is lost.

Reducing food loss and waste is critical to achieving a sustainable world

*SOURCE: United Nations. Go to ORIGINAL.

Learn More:

Discover the progress of prevalence of undernourishment around the world and remember it everytime you throw food in your garbage can.
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Garbanzos thrown in the trash

Habits can change. Here are some easy things you can do to be a #ZeroHunger hero and make not wasting food a way of life.  FAO also offers new ideas to plan a sustainable next holiday by avoiding over-eating and food waste, as well as a poster to print and decorate your fridge to help your family understand our goals.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2019

Aereal view of women classifying dates

If you want to find out more about food loss and waste in an interactive and easy way, this is your source. This digital report provides estimates of the percentage of the world’s food lost from production up to the retail level. It also provides some guiding principles for interventions based on the objectives of food loss and waste reduction, be they in improved economic efficiency, food security and nutrition, or environmental sustainability.

2020 Human Wrongs Watch

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