Keys to Reduce Food Waste in 2050

A year 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted, a fact that should give us as much shame as dread. To meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2050, a new report draws alternatives to the problem.

Fighting against the useless food expenditure is a priority requirement in the current times. Statistics overwhelm: one third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted every year. Meanwhile, 55 million people cannot have a nutritious and quality dish every other day. At least within the European Union, 70% of waste takes place in the home, food service and retail.

In the middle of this 21st century, 10,000 million people will inhabit our planet. To avoid further damaging the climate, biodiversity and ecosystems, it is essential to reduce the massive amount of food that ends up in the garbage. Looking ahead to 2030 a new report analyzes how half of the current waste can be achieved, something that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 1.5 gigatons per year by 2050.

For countries and food-related businesses, the first step should be to set goals, measure the amount of food lost now and draw up a plan. “It helps you prioritize your strategies,” says Craig Hanson, vice president of food, forest, water and ocean at the Non-Profit World Resources Institute, who is in charge of preparing the document.

The plans have proven their operation. In the United Kingdom the government began to focus on food waste in 2007 and waste fell 19% in the following five years. In New Zealand, a 2015-2018 campaign reduced household food waste by 27%. In Seoul, South Korea, where the government began charging people for food they dumped by weight, the waste fell by 10%. Companies have also seen progress: Unilever, for example, reduced food waste in its manufacturing operations by 37% between 2016 and 2017.

Once the goals are set, companies and countries can be creative about ways to really mitigate waste. The report thus identifies various strategies to reduce the impact and amount of food waste. One of the ways is to find new utilities for imperfect products that cannot be sold to the public. Thus, they have seen the light, for example, probiotics made with yogurt byproducts.

In developing countries, numerous startups are already working on solutions such as cold rooms with solar energy, applications that tell farmers the fastest way to reach the market and even tricycles with biogas that can cool the products.

The Internet of Things also helps supply chains and greater logistics efficiency. Through the data restaurants and cafeterias can adjust the menus, the size of the portions and the orders they make daily - chains like Ikea already do it. An increasing number of applications also connect unsold food from restaurants or supermarkets with food rescue organizations or customers looking for a discount.

Another relevant strategy is the redesign of the labeling so that the user understands the expiration or preferred consumption. Sustainable and modern packaging that prolongs the durability of food, clear objectives on the part of companies and cutting-edge conservation technology are some ways that all companies should implement.