Food waste: a global problem that affects us all

October 16, World Food Day

85% of consumers admit they waste food while 5% indicate doing it in large quantities.

On “World Food Day” and on recent “Food Waste Day”, the Silestone Institute reflects on this global problem that affects us all. It has serious ethical implications and important repercussions in the socio-economic and environmental area which are not compatible with a minimum sustainability.

In Europe data are alarming. Reports published by the European Commission estimate that almost 90 million tons of food is wasted per year in the EU, which is more than 170 kg per person per year.

Spain ranks 7th in the EU, with 7,7 million tons of food wasted per year. It is estimated that 85% of consumers acknowledge wasting food, mainly fruits and vegetables followed by dairy products. Around 5% admits doing it in large quantities.

Where is the food wasted?

  • 50% in home kitchens.
  • 20% in food processing.
  • 30% in food producers, manufacturing, catering, and distribution.

The key: to improve food utilization

The challenge of feed almost 9 billion people in a decade is not about increasing food production but about improving its utilization.

For the first time, there is a certain tendency to slow down waste in some sectors and although there are still no official data, it is estimated that during the recent confinement due to the pandemic, this was reduced in homes with a clear disposition to cooking utilization.

The waste reduction strategies go through menu planning, adjusting them to the shopping list, proper storage of products, correct management of stocks, differentiating between expiration and preferential consumption, most rational cooking, and introduction of utilization recipes.

The kitchen is a space to practice and implement small sustainability actions that, however, may have great consequences on a global level.