Third of global food production wasted or lost

June 21, 2013

According to the United Nations 1.3 billion tons — or a third of global food production — is wasted or lost each year.

Photo credit: Matteo De Stefano/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

According to the United Nations 1.3 billion tons — or a third of global food production — is wasted or lost each year. At the same time, one in every seven people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger.

Food manufacturers in Europe are responding to the challenge next week with the signing of a declaration on June 25, 2013 in Brussels thats aims to reduce and prevent edible food wastage. The declaration, called "Every Crumb Counts," is being organized by FoodDrinkEurope and will also see the launch of a new online toolkit1 for manufacturers to share best practice and guidance throughout the food and drink industry.

The declaration is receiving the full support of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) whose members often play a key role in efficient production and effective recycling of waste.

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David Brown, IChemE chief executive, said, "Food waste places an enormous drain on natural resources and will continue to increase as the world’s population is expected to grow by another 2 billion people by 2050. Change is needed and the food and drinks industry in Europe is showing good leadership in their efforts to reduce wastage and loss. It‘s also an area where chemical engineers can make a unique contribution. More efficient food production, research, new processes, improvements in re-cycling, and new strategies and technologies to generate energy from waste will rely heavily on the expertise of chemical engineers if Every Crumb Counts is to succeed."

Every Crumb Counts follows "Think.Eat.Save," the theme of World Environment Day on June 5 that highlighted the problem of food waste, its impact on the environment and food inequalities across the world. The role of chemical engineers in the food and drinks industry is outlined in IChemE’s technical strategy: "Chemical Engineering Matters."

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