The amount of food that goes to waste each year has reached an estimated 2.5 billion tons, a figure that was nearly double the estimates by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
The World Wildlife Fund and U.K. grocery retailer Tesco revealed Wednesday in a report entitled, "Driven to Waste: Global Food Loss on Farms," that about 40% of all food that is grown goes uneaten, higher than the previously estimated 33%.
The report recorded how much food is lost from farm to table and how there are billions of pounds of food wasted in transport, storage, manufacturing, and processing. The report shows that Europe, the U.S., and industrialized Asia make up about half of the waste.
"Producing food uses a huge amount of land, water, and energy, so wasted food significantly impacts climate change – previous estimates suggest that food waste accounts for 8% of greenhouse gases,” and that “food waste accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions," the report states.
After combining waste produced from loss in supply chains and during retail consumption, the report emphasized the importance of food waste on the environment.
⚠️We are wasting 1 billion tonnes more food than previously thought⚠️
That means up to 40% of food is never eaten _— WWF (@WWF)
"We have known for years that food loss and waste is a huge problem that can be minimized, which in turn could reduce the impact of food systems on nature and climate," Pete Pearson, global food loss and waste initiative lead at WWF, said in a press release.
But he admits that the latest report "shows us the problem is likely bigger than we had thought."
Tesco CEO Ken Murphy announced further plans to understand how food waste can be tackled.
“This year several of our suppliers will report on their own farm food loss and waste for the first time, helping us to tackle waste in the earliest parts of the supply chain,” he said in the press release.
"Driven to Waste" called for more action to combat climate change from this “overlooked hotspot.”
“Driven to Waste makes it clear that providing access to technology and training on farms is not enough; decisions made further down the supply chain by businesses and governments have a significant impact on the levels of food lost or wasted on farms,” Lilly Da Gama, Food Loss and Waste Programme Manager at WWF-U.K., said in the press release.