Who is responsible for food loss or food waste?

Food waste is one of the biggest issues faced by the world. Food waste or food loss occurs in all stages such as production, processing, distribution, retail, and consumption. Did you know almost half of the produced food goes to waste? Yes, the global food waste and loss amounts between one-third and one-half of all food produced. This wasted food can be fed to millions of people every year. Instead, fresh food is discarded in landfills to damage our environment. Food waste is one of the major contributors to the impact of agriculture on climate change and other environmental issues. 

In this progressive and ever-changing environment, our failure to manage food resources efficiently has led to several fundamental problems faced by our world today. Producing food that is wasted results in the emission of Greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, biodiversity loss, and water and land consumption. Installing an innovative food waste treatment system can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by treating organic waste at the source by capturing methane within.

What are food waste and food loss?

Food loss occurs in the earlier stage of food production where edible food is discarded at any stage before cooking. This includes food that is uneaten at stores, homes, and food that is spoiled during transportation also, crops that are left in the field, and other food that doesn’t make it to the store. Whereas food waste is leftover food that is discarded uneaten at a restaurant, or home, this includes kitchen scrapes produces when preparing a meal. 

Where food loss happens

Edible food is discarded at every stage of the food chain during processing, and distribution, in retail stores, restaurants, and homes.

Food Loss in Farms

Some of the world’s best rice and grains are grown in India. Food production uses land, water, energy, fuel, and budget yet billions of pounds of food produced is discarded. India losses 16% of its agricultural produce due to various reasons. Farmers always plant more than consumer demands as much of the products are lost in bad weather and pests. In some conditions when the price of food production is less than the transportation and labor cost farmers will leave the crops un-harvested. This type of food loss occurs when farmers produce more than consumers demand or when the price of the produce drops in the market. Sometimes food loss happens both before and after harvest as the produce does not meet the quality standards of a supermarket.

Food loss when packing

Retailers restrict buying some food produce as they do not meet the consumer cosmetic standards. Even though the retailer accepts to buy the produce in some circumstances he will reduce the cost of the produce. In this situation, the farmer will have to justify the transportation cost with the cost of the produce which makes it hard for small-scale farmers to get their food produce to processors. 

Food loss when manufacturing

About 75% of all food waste comes from manufacturing industries, and processing facilities. The food produces is processed then packed and sold in markets or supermarkets. When processing the edible portion of the food produce such as skin, husk, fat, peels, or crust are removed. Some of these waste scrapes are used for other purposes while most of them go to waste. It is calculated approximately that about two billion pounds of food are wasted in the manufacturing and processing stages. This occurs due to factors like over-production, technical problems, and food produce damage during the manufacturing stage. Moreover just like farms food processing and manufacturing facilities are vulnerable to labor disruptions and shortages. 

Food loss during transportation and distribution

It is estimated that about 30% of food loss happens during transportation and distribution due to poor handling of fruits and vegetable produce. Especially in developing nations where people don’t have adequate facilities, transportation, and cold storage facilities can be challenging. When the next stage of the buyer is not found, quickly perishable food produces are vulnerable to lose. Even after reaching the markets, some food is rejected because of shorter shelf-life. These rejected food shipments are donated to food rescue organizations, but the quantity is too large for them to accept. Hence these lost food rot in landfills to produce Methane a potent Greenhouse gas emission. 

Where Food waste happens

Retail businesses are estimated that about 45% of fruits and vegetable produce, 35% of seafood, 30% of cereals and grains, 20% of meat and dairy products are wasted by retailers, suppliers, and consumers every year. Supermarkets lose billions of money on unsold perishable goods. Some of the major factors of food loss at the retailer stage are overstocked perishable products, the expectation of cosmetic perfection of fruits and vegetables, oversized packages, damaged goods, over-purchasing of unpopular products, understaffing, and primarily expired sell-by-dates. 

  1. Restaurants and institutions

Hotels, restaurants, café, and hospitality industries generate an estimated 1.3 billion tons of food waste every year. It is the biggest challenge for all these facilities from how they source produce and develop menus to how they manage left-overs. Reasons for food waste in restaurants oversized portions, the inflexibility of chain store management, and extensive menu choices. Over preparation of food, improper storage of ingredients, and failure to use food scraps and trimmings can also contribute to food loss. The left-overs from restaurants cannot be reused or donated as they do not comply with health code restrictions. Here are few simple ways to reduce and manage food wastes in restaurants

  1. Households

Households are the major contributors to food waste globally. It is estimated approximately 40%-50% of food waste occurs at the consumer stage. The reason for household food waste is due to food spoilage, over-preparing, overbuying, food date labeling confusion, and poor planning. Food spoilage contributes to two-third of food wastage which occurs due to improper storage of food and partially used ingredients. Whereas remaining third of food waste in the household is due to preparing too much food and serving too much food. Date label confusion is another cause of food wastage. Consumers get confused about the sell-by date and use by date and just discard the food. Unplanned food meals and overbuying of food or ingredients also lead to food spoilage even before use. 

Food has the highest carbon footprint. Because it required a considerable amount of energy to produce, harvest, package, retail, manufacture, and transport. Improper handling of food waste causes a serious impact on our environment. CHUGG- an innovative food waste treatment system in India is a one-stop solution for all challenges faced for dumping food waste or loss in landfills. This is a more realistic and profitable way for food producers, sellers, transporters, and manufacturers. Food waste treatment system- CHUGG not only diverts food scraps from landfills but creates organic manure for crops and renewable energy biogas.

All you have to do is crush the food waste or kitchen scraps and feed it to CHUGG. It can feed on all foo scrapes produced in the kitchen and farms including meat, oil, egg, and citrus fruits. The food waste is treated at the source to trap the Methane emission within the chamber attached to it. Here the Methane is converted to clean and renewable energy biogas. Whereas the residue obtained is used as manure for crops. CHUGG-innovative food waste treatment system in India greatly reduces the amount of food waste reaching the landfill and produce sustainable energy and manure. It is the responsibility of all food producers, suppliers, transporter, and consumer to recycle food waste without damaging our environment.

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