Guest Post: Almost Half Of All Food Produced Is Thrown Away

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Kennedy of

Almost Half Of All Food Produced Is Thrown Away

Between 30 and 50 percent of all food produced globally, equivalent to two billion tons, is thrown away each year according to a recent report written by the UK-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), titled ‘Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not’.

The Guardian states that overly-cautious sell by dates, buy one get one free deals, and an obsession with only consuming fruit and vegetables that look perfect are some of the main reasons for this colossal waste of, not only food, but also the water, energy, and arable land used in the creation of the food.

The two billion tons of food wasted each year use 550 billion cubic metres of water to produce, with meat requiring 20-50 times more water than vegetables. As the global population increases to nine and a half billion by 2075, will the lack of available water to produce enough meat lead the majority to become vegetarians?

The report found that in the US and parts of Europe nearly half of all food bought by consumers is thrown away; and that 30 percent of all crops grown in the UK are not even harvested because they do not meet the stringent cosmetic standards that are set by supermarkets and other food distributors around the world. These statistics are criminal considering the fact that in 2010 nearly one billion people across the world went without food.

In order to try and reduce the wastage seen across the food industry, the IME recommends better engineering, agricultural techniques, and infrastructure.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
ACP's picture

Which means EBT payments can be cut in half and welfare queens & kings will still be fat.'s picture



Guest Post: Almost Half Of All Food Produced Is Thrown Away


Gramma was right. It's a sin.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Report is to ignoring Dumpster Diving. Much is good food to be disposal!

francis_sawyer's picture

 "Are you going to eat your fat?"


Spaulding Smailes

whstlblwr's picture

You know what I heard? I heard that Jews waste the most food. It's true.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Yes, half of all food is thrown away.  But what this report fails to mention is that the other half is turned into shit.

Joe Davola's picture

Who/what is behind this.  First this appears on the front page of last Sunday's local paper, then several stories on local TV news - followed by internet postings.  There is some sort of agenda behind this.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

First they beat us up because we're all morbidly obese.  Now they say we throw away 1/2 our food.  Which is it?  Sure wish the media manipulators would get their stories's getting really hard to know what to believe anymore....

AldousHuxley's picture

Almost half of food isn't real food

redpill's picture

How fat would we be if we actually ate it all?!

BooMushroom's picture

Starting tommorrow, the size of all nourishment cubes will be reduced.

Praise be to the Republic!

Thoth's picture

So you don't feel so bad when they double the price!

formadesika3's picture

What this story fails to mention is that the data was compiled before Hostess went TU. The trend should reverse in 2013.

oddball's picture

Nice link.  Highly trained, like the NYPD shoot up at the Empire State Building?

centerline's picture

Hard to say from that if the media is just not taking this out of context.  Nothing would surprise me though.


Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Always thought Chicago cops looked like taxi drivers w/those ridiculous checkerboard caps they wear.  They probably couldnt hit a concealed permit carrier w/a donut let alone their service weapon.  Nothing but mobsters with badges.  Wow, hey is that a Dunkin Donuts?  Stop the squad car.

General Decline's picture

I'm sure the blacked-out combat gear is already on order.  Gotta get ready for Illinois concealed carry permit later this year...

New World Chaos's picture

Dumpster diving is a great way to get some free preps in.  Don't tell the missus you spent the money on ammo until after TSHTF.  Here are some amazing things my homies and I have found in dumpsters:

-Over $500 worth of booze.  One bottle breaks and they legally have to throw out the whole case and every case underneath it.

-Over $500 worth of morphine and oxycontin.  Some old lady died of cancer and her family dumped her meds in a supermarket dumpster, along with a bunch of personal stuff like diaries and awards.  Sad.

-A working chest freezer.  It was last year's model with a few dings; they cut the cord off so the serfs wouldn't get a working chest freezer for free, but we fixed it.  We got it the same night we were jonesing for it.  Synchronicity.  Almost like the Universe itself is saying "Fuck 'em.  Turn on, dive in, drop out of the system".

-A pig's worth of meat for the chest freezer.  We filled it in one night.

We haven't gotten sick yet, and I get to feed the system less while buying more silver, which undermines the system even more. 

I just found out my batty New Age grandma dives as a matter of principle.  Awesome. 

Food safety is a major leftist bugaboo, like terrorism for the right.  The left will support any fascistic law that is spun as improving food safety.  Like the laws which punish people for giving perfectly good food to the homeless.  Of course, it has nothing to do with food safety and everything to do with keeping people on the hamster wheel.  The puppetmasters like a legal system that makes some people go hungry while others pour their efforts into pointless waste.  This encourages resentment, socialism, and the drugery which stops people from having time to think about how things really work.

rbg81's picture

Well, that's just awesome.  Of course, there's the indiginity of diving in a dumpster--especially if you're seen by people who actually know you.  And that's even before the overwhelming Yuck factor kicks in.  I'd rather work a desk job, in an office devoid of smelly, shitty garbage, to earn the money to buy the stuff I actually want vs. winning the dumpster diving "lottery".

Lost My Shorts's picture

You totally don't get it.  Dumpster diving is noble and no one should be ashamed of doing it.  Saves resources.  Makes the planet earth last a few seconds longer.  When I got my first job as an analyst in management consulting, I got all my furniture out of university dumpsters, plus the leavings on the curb of a rich town nearby.  Great thing is, when I moved away -- back to the curb !!  Easy come, easy go.

jeff montanye's picture

the cord cutting thing is the key to many electric appliances.  i got four ultra top of the line professional hair dryers; kept two, gave two away.  didn't even cut the cords so close they couldn't be idiot spliced with wire nuts and duct tape. i keep one in the garage to heat the lawn mower cylinder head for one pull starts on cold days.

curbside is more elegant: need something not quite immediately, especially furniture?  cruise the side streets day before pickup and it is amazing what is there.  especially if you have rudimentary carpentry skills.  got a braun toaster oven that worked for ten years for the trouble of cleaning some melted cheese out of it.

New World Chaos's picture

Guys- Congrats on efficiently re-using the resources vomited up by the gluttinous American consumer.  I was amazed by what the rich college kids would throw away rather than cart home over the summer.  Expensive furniture, stereos, computers, even a box with a years' worth of pocket change (here's some red meat for you:  That guy's dad was a Jewish Wall St. banker with access to God knows how much money created out of nothing). 

In NZ, everyone puts their stuff curbside on the same days, which saves a lot of driving around.  The whole system is really quite efficient.  Curbside scavenging is socially acceptable and therefore common in NZ, which makes amazing finds less likely than in America, but I have still gotten a lot of furniture that way.  Even the shittiest furniture can become good raised bed gardens.  Dumpster diving generates a lot of compost for those gardens and the gardens fill in the gaps from dumpster diving (good produce is uncommon).

New World Chaos's picture

I have found much more dignity in freedom.  A rat in a dumpster has more dignity than a rat in the system's maze.  Not caring what other people think about you is also quite liberating.  And if you lose some friends over some imaginary dumpster cooties then fuck 'em, they weren't your friends anyway.  Quit mentally enslaving yourself to people who keep you in a box to assuage their own inadequacies.  These people work for the system by channeling its soul-crushing culture.

The Dumpster Gods smile upon me and usually give something similar to what I want.  I.e. green peppers instead of red peppers, boysenberry yogurt instead of mixed berry yogurt.  Paying for my exact wants isn't worth it.  Of course, what I really want is to eat well while starving the Beast.

smiler03's picture

It seems that life sure is sweet in America. I whole heartedly believe in minimising/eliminating waste but to reduce your countries poor to scavenging, like rats, just to live, is a very sad reflection on your society.

Even worse is that those with online access to the internet are probably depriving the hungry by "getting there first". Why don't the stores eliminate the ZH scavengers by donating it to a charity? A charity being those who look after the needy, not scavenging gold and silver investors. What a fucked up cuntry (sic).



New World Chaos's picture

I'm not depriving anyone.  I see bags ripped open on maybe 5% of dives.  Never even seen another diver (this is in New Zealand).  My mates did run into some old guy raiding a dumpster and they helped him out.  Diving is bigger in America but I suspect most of the good food still goes to waste.

As stated above, the stores cannot donate it to charity due to legal liability and stupid food safety laws which are really about keeping everyone on the hamster wheel.

Lost My Shorts's picture

You need to just get out from under your pre-conceived notions.  Scavenging is actually the most resource-efficient solution, and in the case of furniture on the curb, good exercise also.  If you try to build a clearinghouse where people bring things for reuse (like Goodwill or similar), that's OK and more dignified but also requires land, heat, fuel to transport the stuff etc.  If you just set it on the curb, however, scavengers can find it, and it goes straight from old owner to new owner with minimum logistics.

I am usually a defender of the 47% at ZH, because what 95% of them really want is middle class jobs, not free stuff.  But I must say, when middle class jobs are not to be had, the implied wages of scavenging and DIY compare favorably to flipping burgers, up to a point.  The American lumpy proletariat would be better off if they had more DIY skills and spent more time recycling instead of watching TV.  I am not being a hypocrite.  I do it with no shame even though I have no immediate need.

In truly poor countries, scavenging is a full-time job for many people at a very low implied wage, and that is more disconcerting.

Lost My Shorts's picture

Way to go, dude.  Dumpster diving is a form of recycling, which for most hipster Americans has taken the place of prayer as their primary spiritual ritual.  And your carbon footprint is tiny !!  You should sell carbon credits to Al Gore.  He pays you ten bucks, and you eat from the dumpster, and he gets to turn up the heat in his mansion.

Probably most of the wasted food cited by the Engineers is from supermarkets, who need to keep shelves beautifully stocked at all times with vegetables and fish, much of which will not sell before it expires or turns ugly.

Where I live in Japan, our local supermarket puts fish on sale for half price at around 7:30 pm rather than throw it out.  Once a week, Gaijin goes and fills the basket with half-priced fish.

New World Chaos's picture

Yeah, fuck Al Gore.  His mansion was built with Rothschild money in exchange for pushing a world government fed by carbon taxes.  Most other so-called greens don't really care about the Earth.  Ever notice that whenever someone has a specific idea for a renewable energy source (i.e.  "Let's build a wind farm here"), the ones who make the biggest stink about it are inevitably... the Greens?  See, it's all about social control, setting themselves up as bureaucratic mandarins, Agenda 21, or trying to carbon-offset a wasteful consumerist lifestyle with a bit of self righteousness.  Anarcho-primitivists and the Amish are genuine Greens.

smiler03's picture

 "the ones who make the biggest stink about it are inevitably... the Greens?"


Not in the UK. The corruption is very obvious. Local politicians have the right to approve/reject the project. The publics/greens/business/regional/county/national opinions count for nothing, most of them disapprove.

Where I live is a wind farm developers haven. The last major wind farm was approved by 9 local councillors who earn less than $20000 each. Even the much larger authority objected. One year afterwards the much larger authority stated that the approval they (small time local politicians) gave must "never be granted permission in similar cirumstances EVER AGAIN". 

Too late.. we now have 12 more wind turbines, some of them within 200 metres/yards of peoples homes. The turbines are 100 metres from ground to the highest blade.

Greens are best, politicians are fucking corrupt twats. 

While I am moaning. in it's first year this 12 turbine wind farm generated just 21% of it's planned potential. Farcical.

New World Chaos's picture

In NZ, the politicians and the people running the agenda are frauds.  Individual Greens sometimes have their hearts in the right place but most of them are still "useful idiots".

BooMushroom's picture

At the Safeway near where I live, they throw all the day old bread from the bakery into a shopping cart, and toss it out.  I asked if I could have/buy it from them so it wouldn't be wasted.  They wouldn't hear of it.

So dumpster diving is the only way to stop the waste.

S5936's picture

One man gathers what another man spills. Happy diving. Way to go!!!

salvadordaly's picture

Omi (grandmom) would makes us sit down till it was all gone. Not so bad, but she fixed the plate. She was in germany during the war and food was scarce. She made sure we had plenty. I remeber crying at times, so full and more to go. To this day I still finish everything on the plate. It's safe to say looking around Amerika, this half thrown away thing is absolutly not happening. Everyone is finishing their plate and going back for seconds, and then desert.

mercy's picture

"It's safe to say looking around Amerika, this half thrown away thing is absolutly not happening. Everyone is finishing their plate and going back for seconds, and then desert."


Indeed, while slurping down on a big ass cup of (diet) soda.

BooMushroom's picture

Try saying that at a Golden Corral or a Hometown Buffet.  The employees will laugh in your face.

Umh's picture

I will hazard a guess that the people throwing away large amounts of foof are not the people who are paying for the food.

Silver Bug's picture

Does this mean that all our mothers who said "there are starving children in..." have failed?

General Decline's picture

I was in Africa late last year eating at this horrible resturant where all the food tasted like fish.  Even the fruit.  I pushed the plate away from me after I barely ate any of it and thought to myself, "what am I doing?? There are children starving here" 

I always loose weight when I go to that continent.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

She was right...for the wrong reasons?

ebworthen's picture

No, no:

EBT payments will be doubled, WalMart and fast food chains will be richer, and the welfare queens and kings will be the same except have more disposable income for Newports, NASCAR, and Natties - it's the rats that will be fatter.

WhiteNight123129's picture

HIgher prices will curb waste.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Maybe is also curb waist!


(Boris is make witty word play!)

Joe moneybags's picture

You are one of the few posters whom I understand.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Google Translate is for joyous interpretation. Praise be Google's name.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Thank you but Boris is drink from bottle.

kaiserhoff's picture

Boris, you're not quite right in the head.  Welcome to the continuing catastrophe;)