New “First Of Its Kind” Tool Helps Avoid Global Food Waste


In a world where over 840 million go hungry every day, achieving food security goes beyond increasing global food production. Better food systems and sustainable consumption and production approaches are needed to achieve food security for all.

A new tool, the Think.Eat.Save Guidance Version 1.0 – released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) as part of SAVE FOOD Initiative and FAO-UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Programme – provides guidance to governments, local authorities, businesses and others on designing effective food waste prevention programmes.

Research shows that at least one-third, or 1.3 billion tonnes, of food produced each year is lost or wasted – an amount corresponding to over 1.4 billion hectares of cropland. Even a quarter of this lost food could feed all the world’s hungry people.

According to the FAO, almost half of all fruit and vegetables is wasted each year. About 10 per cent of developed countries’ greenhouse gas emissions come from growing food that is never eaten, and food loss and waste amounts to roughly USD 680 billion in industrialized countries and USD 310 billion in developing countries.

“Food waste carries direct economic and environmental costs and depletes the natural resource base that underpins food production,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“Today, diets are becoming more resource-intensive, and the way we buy and consume food is changing due to industrialization, the demands of a growing middle class, and the continued impacts of the economic crisis.

This first-of-its-kind guidance document on food waste prevention provides the technical expertise and impetus needed for a wide range of actors to take advantage of existing wisdom, catalyze action, and get a head start in tackling this critical issue,” he added.

Ensuring that all the world’s people have enough food is the vision of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Zero Hunger Challenge, and UNEP and the FAO are jointly charged under the challenge with reducing food loss and waste.