“Missing Food, Missing Data” report suggests we have a long way to go in good data collection.
Awareness of the scale of the global food waste problem has been on the rise in recent years, which is a good thing, as most estimates of the amount of food lost or wasted annually without being consumed by humans range from 30% to 50% of total production. That’s neither acceptable nor sustainable.
The United Nations has addressed this problem through Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which calls for a 50% cut in per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels. This is a worthy goal, as food waste carries deep externalities in terms of lost nutrition, wasted resource inputs, soil depletion, water pollution, and air pollution through greenhouse gas emissions as food decays in landfills. Stunningly, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that if ranked as a country, food waste would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions.