Significant amounts of food are lost or wasted every day, in every country, and at every stage in the supply chain, from the farm to household. According to a 2011 estimate by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about one-third of food produced is lost or wasted globally. In the United States, food loss and waste account for approximately 31 percent of food supply at the retail and consumer level each year—a loss of about 133 billion pounds with a total cost of $162 billion. Costs aside, food loss has significant impacts on food security, environmental conservation, and climate change. There are also lesser known impacts of reducing food loss and waste on farmers, food prices, food availability, and environment.
On October 17, 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Science and Technology for Sustainability program organized a workshop to examine key challenges that arise in reducing food loss and waste throughout the supply chain as well as potential ways to address these challenges. The workshop was intended to shed light on the impacts of food waste in the hope of advancing solutions at all levels, from government to industry.
Read the highlights here.