World wasted one billion meals a day in 2022: UN

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Food loss and waste generates 8-10 per cent of annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

New Delhi: Households across all continents wasted over 1 billion meals a day in 2022, as per the report published UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The UNEP “Food Waste Index Report 2024”, also mentioned that 783 million people were affected by hunger and a third of humanity faced food insecurity.

These are the key findings of a published, ahead of the International Day of Zero Waste, which highlighted that food waste continues to hurt the global economy and fuel climate change, nature loss, and pollution.

In 2022 there were 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste generated amounting to 132 kilograms per capita and almost one-fifth of all food available to consumers, the report said.

Out of the total food wasted in 2022, 60 per cent happened at the household level, with food services responsible for 28 per cent and retail 12 per cent, it further added.

Showing concerns over food waste, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP said, “Food waste is a global tragedy. Millions will go hungry today as food is wasted across the world”.

“Not only is this a major development issue, but the impacts of such unnecessary waste are causing substantial costs to the climate and nature” she added.

According to recent data, food loss and waste generates 8-10 per cent of annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions almost 5 times that of the aviation sector and significant biodiversity loss by taking up the equivalent of almost a third of the world’s agricultural land.

The toll of both food loss and waste on the global economy is estimated at roughly USD 1 trillion. As of 2022, only 21 countries have included food loss or waste reduction in their national climate plans (NDCs).

Only four G20 countries (Australia, Japan, UK, the USA) and the European Union have food waste estimates suitable for tracking progress to 2030.

Canada and Saudi Arabia have suitable household estimates, with Brazil’s estimate expected late 2024. Since 2021, there’s been a strengthening of the data infrastructure with more studies tracking food waste.

“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, CEO of WRAP.

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