Food continues to be lost and wasted. This year an increase in food loss and waste was witnessed as a result of movement and transport restrictions due to the pandemic. Marking the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (FLW), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme and their partners urged everyone to do more to reduce FLW or risk an even greater drop in food security and natural resources.
On top of this comes food waste, for which new estimates are coming out early 2021. Causes range from poor handling, inadequate transport or storage, lack of cold chain capacity, extreme weather conditions to cosmetic standards, and a lack of planning and cooking skills among consumers. “Food loss and waste is a big challenge of our time,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, “Innovative postharvest treatment, digital agriculture and food systems and re-modelling market channels offer huge potential to tackle the challenges of food loss and waste. We have just built a partnership with IBM, Microsoft and the Vatican to empower Artificial Intelligence in all these areas.”
Calling food loss and waste “an ethical outrage” António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, in a message sent, urged everyone to play their part in tackling this issue – from countries setting a reduction target and measuring their food loss and waste and policy action in this area being included in climate plans under the Paris Agreement to businesses taking a similar approach and individuals shopping carefully, storing food correctly, and using leftovers.