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Think, Eat, Save: FAO, UNEP and partners launch global campaign on food waste

23 January 2013

Consumers, industry, government can all help to reduce 1,3 billion tonnes of yearly waste and losses.

The Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint campaign is in support of the SAVE FOOD Initiative to reduce food loss and waste along the entire chain of food production and consumption - run by the FAO and trade fair organizer Messe Düsseldorf - and the UN Secretary General's Zero Hunger Initiatives. The new campaign specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry.

The campaign harnesses the expertise of organizations such as WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), Feeding the 5,000 and other partners, including national governments, who have considerable experience targeting and changing wasteful practices.

Think.Eat.Save. aims to accelerate action and provide a global vision and information-sharingportal for the many and diverse initiatives currently underway around the world.

Worldwide, about one-third of all food produced, worth around $1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems, according to data released by FAO. Food loss occurs mostly at the production stages - harvesting, processing and distribution - while food waste typically takes place at the retailer and consumer end of the food-supply chain.

"Together, we can reverse this unacceptable trend and improve lives. In industrialized regions, almost half of the total food squandered, around 300 million tonnes annually, occurs because producers, retailers and consumers discard food that is still fit for consumption," said José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General. "This is more than the total net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa, and would be sufficient to feed the estimated 870 million people hungry in the world."

Per-capita waste by consumers is between 95 and 115 kg a year in Europe and North America/Oceania, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia each throw away only 6 to 11 kg a year.

According to WRAP, the average UK family could save £680 per year ($1,090) and the UK hospitality sector could save £724 million ($1.2 billion) per year by tackling food waste.

In a similar vein for other parts of the world, the European Union is looking into the issue of food waste, and the European Commission has lent its weight to the new initiative.

For the campaign to reach its huge potential, everyone has to be involved - families, supermarkets, hotel chains, schools, sports and social clubs, company CEOs, city Mayors, national and world leaders.

The campaign website provides simple tips to consumers and retailers, will allow users to make food waste pledges, and provides a platform for those running campaigns to exchange ideas and create a truly global culture of sustainable consumption of food.

 

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