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.