Better Use of Food Surplus Can Feed more People and Give Positive Climate Effects

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According to a recent study from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, avoiding food loss can be an effective counteract on the growing food demand in the world. The study provides a systematic methodology to estimate consumer level food waste both on a national and global level, based on food availability and requirements. To calculate food requirements, the study’s researchers used data on demographics and the energy requirements for people of different ages and genders. They also included varieties of caloric needs according to weight and different activity levels as well as considering specific needs of pregnant and lactating women.

Over the past 50 years, global food availability increased more than the total food needed. The bad news is that retailers and households were wasting 20 percent of food in 2010 and the amount of food waste could double by 2050. Consequently, as the world population will increase, we will have serious problems feeding all of the planet’s inhabitants in the future. The findings emphasise the need to figure out how to reduce waste in the supply chain.

Although there is an overall global surplus of food, some countries have overall food deficits. Many countries also have parts of the population that do not have enough to eat. This reminds us that distribution is also part of the problem.

On the positive side, the study shows that making better use of our existing food can have substantial climate benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector.

Reference:Source: Hiç, C, et al. Food Surplus and Its Climate Burdens. Environmental Science & Technology (2016) DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b05088

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