Almost one-fifth of all food available to consumers ends up as waste: UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2024 | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Globally, 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste generated (including inedible parts) in 2022 which was almost one-fifth of all food available to consumers, and each person, on average, wasted 79 kg of food annually in households in the world compared to 55 kg per capita per year in India, said the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report 2024 released on Wednesday.
The report that factored in the data of the year 2022 underlined that the toll of both food loss in supply chain and waste on the global economy is estimated at roughly $1 trillion.
It noted that the aggregated households’ food waste amounted to at least one billion meals of edible food worldwide every single day while 783 million people were affected by hunger and a third of humanity faced food insecurity.
The weight of the global food waste in 2022 was, incidentally, more than India’s total production of foodgrain, oilseeds, sugarcane and horticultural produce, put together, in 2022-23.
Out of the total food wasted globally in 2022, 60% happened at the household level, 28% at food services level and 12% at retails. The country-wise food waste data confirms that such 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.
At the same time, hotter countries 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.
This is the second such report of UNEP after the first one in 2021 that factored in the food waste in the year 2019. Its comparison with the latest one, released on Wednesday, shows that the per capita per year food waste at household level globally increased from 74kg in 2019 to 79 kg in 2022. Similarly, it increased in India from 50 kg/capita/year to 55 kg/capita/year during the same period. Per capita per year food waste at household level was the highest in Maldives at 207 kg/capita/year in 2022.
“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,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.
According to recent data, food loss and waste generates 8-10% 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.
Still, only 21 countries have included food loss and/or waste reduction in their national climate plans – called nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – under the Paris Agreement. Besides, only four G20 countries (Australia, Japan, UK, the USA) and the European Union have food waste estimates suitable for tracking progress to 2030.
In this context, the Food Waste Index report may serve as a practical guide for countries to consistently measure and report food waste, and also try to integrate it in their next round of NDCs in 2025 to raise their climate ambition.
Currently, many low- and middle-income countries continue to lack adequate systems for even tracking progress to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of halving food waste by 2030, particularly in retail and food services.


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