Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Post-harvest losses

12 September 2018

The World Wildlife Fund has released a report measuring on-farm crop waste at various locations in the United States. During the 2017-18 growing season, 40% of tomatoes, 39% of peaches, 2% of potatoes and 56% of romaine lettuce were left in the field. Causes of waste at the farm stage include strict quality standards, damage due to weather, variable consumption patterns and unpredictable labour supply. Some growers pointed out, however, that the nutrients in on-farm waste food are almost always recycled, e.g. as animal feed or by ploughing the waste back into the field.

Image: Bangdoll, Mango with section on a white background, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
4 June 2018

A new edible and almost invisible coating could extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetables and help farmers sell more of their crops, reports Civil Eats. The maker of the coating, Apeel Sciences, says that the coating is made from fats that can be derived from the peel, seeds and pulp of “any kind of fruit or vegetable”. Apeel Sciences claims that the coating can double the lifespan of produce, even without refrigeration.

26 May 2018

A report by Friends of the Earth Europe finds that plastic food packaging is not a solution to growing levels of food waste in Europe, contrary to some claims that packaging can reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of foods. For example, using packaging to group food together in larger packs could encourage customers to buy more food than necessary. Another example is that green beans are often cut to fit into the packaging, causing losses of 30 to 40%.

15 May 2018

US grocers focus more on donating and recycling food waste than on preventing it, reports the Centre for Biological Diversity. The report scored 10 US grocery chains and the UK supermarket Tesco on food waste reduction commitments, policies and actions.

28 November 2017

Where in the world is the most expensive plate of food? In this publication the World Food Programme calculates the relative price of a nutritious meal in countries around the globe when compared to the average daily income and finds that the world’s poorest would have to pay more than a day’s wages for a single plate of sufficient food.

Photo: Eric Elnem, Food rescued from dumpster, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
26 May 2017

This paper shows that a huge amount of nutrients is wasted each day in the US food supply, and that much of this waste includes important nutrients that are currently under-consumed in the US. It is one of the first studies to calculate the nutritional value of food wasted in the US at the retail and consumer levels, shining a light on just how much protein, fibre and other important nutrients end up in the landfill in a single year.

Photo: jbloom, plate scraping, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic.
29 March 2017

This paper looks at how we can achieve greater food and nutrition security in a sustainable manner by reducing waste and it also analyses how losses impact overall food system efficiency.  It quantifies the food wasted throughout the food chain (10 stages) from primary production to human food consumption and also looks at the impact of livestock production on both food system biomass efficiency and feed crop losses. The paper defines wasted food energy of livestock production in terms of its poor efficiency in feed conversion ratios (ie. only some of the feed livestock consume end up as meat and dairy, with the rest loss via respiration, dung and urine). 

 
18 February 2015

A set of papers from the First International Conference on Global Food Security is now available online. The conference attracted 600 participants from 65 countries. All of the papers in the special issue are open access for the first year and available here.

3 December 2014

In her first report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver, said that a human-rights based approach to food security is necessary to provide access to affordable, nutritious food for all and to eliminate hunger.  The report describes renewed political commitment as essential to advance the right to adequate food.

15 October 2014

The following two reports deal with food waste costs and mitigation. The first report focuses on costs and introduces a methodology that allows for full-cost accounting (FCA) of the food waste footprint, including costs associated with the environmental impacts of food waste. The FCA framework incorporates market based evaluations of the direct financial costs, non-market valuation of lost ecosystem goods and services and well-being valuation to assess the social costs associated with natural resource degradation.

23 June 2014

In this feature on Food Choices & Health, the United States Department of Agriculture and Economic Research Service (ERS) discusses food loss and food waste and points out the distinction in meaning between the two. They describe food loss as includes moisture loss and cooking shrinkage; loss from mould, pests, or inadequate climate control; and food waste.

5 December 2013

The EU Gratitude project is aiming to reduce waste from post-harvest losses of root and tuber crops and turn unavoidable waste into something of value. It has yielded interesting findings on how waste from cassava and yams is managed in the value chains, findings which challenge the conventional idea that waste and losses in developing countries occur at the farm end of the value chain. In fact the results, presented at the mid-term review meeting, showed that in Ghana in particular waste and losses were greater at the consumer end and hence more costly- these patterns are more similar to those found in developed countries than previously believed.

7 October 2013

This report from Global Food Security programme (GFS) entitled ‘Food waste within global food systems’ discusses how reduction of losses and waste throughout the entire food system can contribute to achieving global food security. It provides an independent assessment of the issues around food waste in developing and developed countries and suggests a number of potential future research priorities across the food supply chain.