Publish date28 Mar 2024 - 15:00
Story Code : 629747

World wasted over 1B meals daily in 2022: UNEP report

Worldwide more than a billion meals a day were squandered in 2022, while 783 million people were affected by hunger and a third of humanity faced food insecurity, according to a UN report released on Wednesday. 
World wasted over 1B meals daily in 2022: UNEP report

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) report found that 132 kg per capita and almost one-fifth of all food available to consumers was wasted. The majority of food waste happened at the household level, 60%, while food services were responsible for 28% and retail 12%.
"Food waste is a global tragedy. Millions will go hungry today as food is wasted across the world," Executive Director of UNEP Inger Andersen said in the report. "Not only is this a major development issue, but the impacts of such unnecessary waste are causing substantial costs to the climate and nature."
"The good news is we know if countries prioritize this issue, they can significantly reverse food loss and waste, reduce climate impacts and economic losses, and accelerate progress on global goals," Andersen said.
According to the publication, food waste is not just a "rich country" problem, with levels of household food waste differing in observed average levels for high-income, upper-middle, and lower-middle-income countries by just 7 kg per capita.
Hotter countries, it said, appear to generate more food waste per capita in households, potentially due to higher consumption of fresh foods with substantial inedible parts and a lack of robust cold chains.
The report also drew attention to the fact that food loss and waste generate 8-10% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, which is "almost 5 times that of the aviation sector."
Meanwhile, the toll of both food loss and waste on the global economy is estimated at roughly $1 trillion.
"With the huge cost to the environment, society, and global economies caused by food waste, we need greater coordinated action across continents and supply chains. We support UNEP in calling for more G20 countries to measure food waste and work towards SDG12.3," said Harriet Lamb, the CEO of climate action NGO WRAP and co-author of the report.
"This is critical to ensuring food feeds people, not landfills," Lamb urged.
The UN Food Waste Index Report is tracking progress to meet Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of halving food waste by 2030, particularly in retail and food services.
However, according to the report, many low- and middle-income countries continue to lack adequate systems to reach the goal.
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