The Wealthier We Are the More Food We Waste, Study Shows

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The Wealthier We Are the More Food We Waste, Study Shows - Food and Wine

And the overall amount of waste could be twice what we previously thought.


In 2011, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) put an easily understandable estimate on global food waste: one third of all food that could be consumed wasn’t. The fraction is as simple to comprehend mathematically as it’s impossible to comprehend for its irresponsibility. And it’s a stat we’ve repeated numerous times at Food & Wine. But if you were shocked by the UN’s findings, consider sitting down for this: A new study released this week suggests that the one-third estimate may be way off. Actual global food waste may be twice as bad—and the richer the country, the worse the problem becomes.

“What we estimate is that FAO's original estimate of 214 calories per capita per day is actually a vast underestimate of the global food waste as we measure it, because we have a factor two larger estimate of 527 calories per capita per day,” Thom Achterbosch, a member of the research team from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, said according to the BBC. The difference apparently stems from a difference in calculation: While the FAO looked specifically at waste in supply, the new study continued to estimate food waste from consumers. And importantly, by also attempting to link consumer food waste to affluence, the study was also able to pinpoint where income can drastically change our food waste habits.
 
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