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With food wastage growing at an alarming rate, a new report from the BCG shows ways in which consumers can help contribute to achieving the 2030 United Nations goal of halving food wastage.

Food waste piled up in a landfill site

Food wastage has been a growing issue for a number of years, with the amount of food waste set to rise at an alarming rate by a third by 2030.

At present, 1.6 billion tonnes of food is lost through wastage, which equates to one-third of the food produced worldwide. According to a new report from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 2.1 billion tonnes of waste will be thrown away by 2030, which is equivalent to 66 tonnes per second. This means that the UN’s goal of halving food waste and food loss by 2030 is edging further and further away.

As reported by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), food waste accounts for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, a concerning figure which requires urgent action. However, it will need work from all governments, companies and consumers to see a difference. The UN introduced three recommendations on how to achieve this target; setting realistic targets, measuring the waste so that it can be managed and taking action as they see fit. But as we’re falling behind on the goal, it might be time to evaluate the current situation.

One of the main issues is how supermarkets have a lack of information on their products and the promotions they have in place. While customers are frequently led to believe that goods are healthier when fresh rather than frozen, this is not usually the case. ‘’In fact, the opposite is often true: frozen food products frequently retain more nutrients than unfrozen items, which can degrade during the shipping process’’, the report states. Companies such as Tesco have introduced ways to reduce their part in food wastage by offering incentives such as buy one get one free, where instead of taking the free product at the time of purchase, consumers can return to collect their free product at a later date when it is needed.

Introducing Ecolabel labels could be the answer to limiting food waste. Ecolabelling is a method of labelling the environmental performance certification and is practised globally. It enables consumers to determine which products they should favour when shopping due to specific products being more environmentally friendly, thus allowing them to be made more aware of how eco-friendly their options are and how they can personally contribute to the 2030 goal.

Although the awareness of food wastage has risen, the global response is far less adequate. “It’s fragmented, limited and ultimately insufficient given the magnitude of the problem’’ said Shalini Unnikrishnan, a partner and managing director at BCG who shared her thoughts with The Guardian.

Unfortunately, food wastage is not an issue that is solved independently, and as stated previously will require the help of all countries to get involved. If you want to help make a difference and contribute to the 2030 goal, there are some small changes you can incorporate into your households or businesses. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can read one of our previous blogs on some tips on how to help you reduce your household food waste and how shrink wrap machinery can help. What do you think of the state of food wastage? We’d love to hear your thoughts.