Reducing food waste offers opportunity for private sector

Boosting production is not the only way to meet rising food demand. The world will have to cut wastage, writes Robeco’s head of food & agri strategies, Klaas Smits, in a white paper.

Reducing food waste offers opportunity for private sector
Klaas Smits, head of food and agri strategies at Robeco

The world is heavily focused on boosting food production to meet sharply rising global demand, but a critical link in the chain is being overlooked – waste. It’s here that private sector investment has an opportunity to make a profound difference.

Food demand is forecast to increase by at least 70% over the next 40 years due to population growth, rising per-capita income, changes in dietary preference and greater usage of biofuel.

Yet cranking up food volumes – improving farm inputs, sustainable intensification and greater trade – is not the only way to meet demand. Reducing food losses and waste has to contribute.

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, about a third of edible food for human consumption is lost, wasted or discarded due to inefficiencies in the food chain.

In industrialised countries, more than 40% of waste occurs in the retail and consumer phase: retailers rejecting food that isn’t perfect or consumers binning it.

In low-income countries, food loss is more about inefficiencies in harvesting, storage, processing and distribution – problems that are rectifiable through investment.

While there is a role for the public sector to play, private investment holds the key as a logical source of funds. To read Robeco’s white paper on this issue, please click here.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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