Food wastage is not simply an ethical issue, but an economic and environmental problem. Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food every year goes to waste. At the same time, 1 in 11 people in the world do not have enough food to live. Economically, the supply chain needs to be improved as many foods go bad for various reasons before reaching the end consumer. Consequently, not only do these foods fail to accomplish their purpose of feeding humankind, the resources and expenses used to produce them, such as labor, natural resources and fertilizers, all go to waste. In 2019 alone, the total monetary value of wasted food came close to US$47 billion.
Many innovative companies have taken on the difficult task of turning this problem into business opportunities. These range from developing new technologies to extend the shelf-life of food, and upcycling leftovers and turning them into fashion items, thereby reducing the amount of food sent to landfills. In this issue, we share with readers how various entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations have used cutting-edge methods to extend the utility of food.
In 2019, there were a total of around 931 million tons of food waste across food service, household and retail these three main sectors:
Prevent wastage at every stage of food production.
Waste is not waste until we waste it. Recover the edibles and make better use of it e.g. donate to those in need, biochemical reprocessing.
Repurpose into other products.
Centralize composting or anaerobic digestion in densely populated areas, and decentralize composting in rural areas.
Process food waste with MBT (mechanical biological mixed waste treatment) to turn it into refuse-derived-fuel (RDF).
Transport to landfill and / or incineration. This is the least acceptable.