Post written by Rebecca
Are you worried about what you’re having for breakfast tomorrow and where it’s coming from? You could argue your local supermarket but actually it’s a lot wider than that. As the population increases along with food waste and climate change food supply is becoming a greater worry than ever.
Globally demand for food is currently outweighing supply and with the population forecast to increase by over 2.3 billion in the next 35 years– lets grow more right? It seems like the most logical solution.
The World Bank has said that we need increase food grown around the globe by over half by 2050 in order to feed the expected 9.6 billion habitants.
Will growing more help? We can try but in reality we need to turn our focus on problems closer to home that we as individuals can control; food waste, overconsumption and reducing effects of climate change.
According to the UN if global food waste was reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed the malnourished. One third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, which is approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, gets lost or wasted.
Why are we wasting as much as we are? One reason could be consumers are quite simply able to buy food for less meaning they aren’t quite as concerned when they throw half of it away. Not that manufacturers should go away and considerably increase all prices, because that would cause a world of problems. Consumers need to simply be more aware of these issues and be proactive in reducing the amount of food they are throwing away by planning meals and buying only what they need to at the supermarket.
Packaging is one factor, which is helping to decrease levels of food waste, especially with new packaging innovations able to extend the shelf life of a product coupled with increased protection for products in transit. New smart packaging can actually help to achieve 75 percent less food waste in some cases. Along with packaging, food waste bins should be introduced in all households; if we must throw our food away for whatever reason then lets at least dispose of it correctly.
Another problem is overconsumption; now I’m not saying that we should reintroduce rations but people need to be aware that they don’t need to eat more than they need. This is clearly highlighted by the large levels of obesity, in fact, The World Health Organisation states that worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980; in 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight.
One stepping stone to reducing overconsumption is portion control- food and packaging manufacturers are introducing smaller packs which act as portion controls for consumers as well as prominent labels identifying recommended food allowances to lead a healthier life.
Finally and definitely the most uncontrollable factor; losses of harvest caused by climate change. OXFAM GB Chief Executive explains that rice and maize both suffer at the hands of changing climates which effects millions of poor people from Southern Africa to Central America who are dependent on these staples.
Farmers need help and support - together with governments we need to work towards creating an agricultural system that is more resilient to extreme or adverse weather conditions. The World Bank has begun to look into this climate-smart agriculture however more must be done.
Hats off and a big thank you to those who have already taken action; ECR waste reduction programme, WRAP, UN food waste campaign think eat save, OXFAM to name a few.
We all love food, we all need food but we need act smart to future proof our food supply.