Each year consumers spend $218 billion on food that ends up going to waste. And, about $277 million of that waste will happen during Thanksgiving — when Americans begin to plan, purchase and prepare lavish meals which usually result in leftovers that ultimately end up in the trash.
Chefs often say the first thing they learn in the kitchen is how to avoid waste. Today, one chef is bringing attention to the staggering problem of large-scale waste: Anthony Bourdain with his new movie, “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste.”
Each year a third of the world’s food is wasted, along with the resources used to produce and transport it, according to the United Nations. Considering our already overburdened environment, reduction is an obvious and immediate priority.
Because of innovative work we are doing at our Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plant, General Mills was invited to be included in “WASTED! The Story of Food Waste,” a documentary making its debut in theaters and online today.
The film helps shed new light on what is food and what is garbage. Every year, one-third of the food grown worldwide never reaches a plate and 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown out. That’s $218 billion worth of food produced for human consumption that never gets eaten.
Today, approximately 54 percent of the global population lives in an urban area and the United Nations expects that by 2050, urban dwellers will make up 66 percent of the population. With the global rise of urbanization, we are becoming increasingly disconnected from our food sources. We know that in the United States, for example, food travels 4,200 miles on average from farm to consumer. And with the explosion of the food e-commerce market, food must travel one step further to customers’ doorsteps.
The links between the environmental and health impacts of our food are becoming ever more apparent. Intensive production and consumption has increased the availability of food, but it has also given rise to land degradation, climate change, water scarcity, and an epidemic of obesity.
A global initiative committing major international food producers to tough new targets on food waste has been unveiled at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s Climate Week in New York.
A voluntary resolution from the Global Agri-Business Alliance (GAA) calls on private sector members to halve their own food and agricultural losses by 2030, and work with suppliers and customers to do the same. It is aligned with one of the targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
As a computer science student in Urbana, Illinois, Raj Karmani had almost no clue about running a restaurant or grocery store. He only knew that if leftover bagels at his neighborhood bakery were landing in the trash while people all over the city were going hungry, something didn’t add up.
By Pete Pearson, Director of Food Waste at World Wildlife Fund
Biodiversity is a crucial marker of Earth’s environmental health. The more diverse and abundant life is on this planet, the more resilient our landscapes and cities are to disease, drought, storms and other threats.