One third of all food produced around the world is never eaten. Not only is this a major moral concern – it’s also damaging our climate.
Global food waste produces more greenhouse gas than all commercial flights, and if food waste were a country, it would have the world’s third-biggest carbon footprint. That’s because when food is wasted, the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport and package it is also wasted. And if food ends up going to landfill and rots, it produces harmful greenhouse gas.
Society’s window of opportunity to halt the worst impacts of climate change is fast closing. Human actions are threatening devastation to much of the natural world – as Earth Day (on 22nd April) will highlight. Yet despite the significant negative impact that food waste has on the planet, research by Love Food Hate Waste shows that only one third of UK respondents currently see a link between food waste and climate change.
We must seize the opportunity to boost much broader understanding of how to combat food waste to help protect our planet. Tackling the food waste challenge requires collaboration between food companies, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, policymakers and consumers alike if we are to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving global food waste by 2030. Now is the time for every business to deliver real action and impact on this urgent issue.
In the UK, 70% of all wasted food happens in people’s homes, and expiry dates are responsible for 10% of all food waste across Europe1. Changing labelling can play a major positive role, empowering a better understanding of when food is still perfectly safe and good to eat. Food passed its ‘Use By’ is no longer safe to consume, whereas food passed its ‘Best Before’ may still be safely eaten, and misconceptions around this result in a huge amount of unnecessary waste.