If you read our previous blog post, you know that we are passionate about food waste. ⅓ of all food produced globally doesn’t get consumed, and Apeel is working to lower that statistic. But did you know that there’s a difference between food waste and food loss? Keep reading to find out what the difference is and why it matters to us (FAO).
Food loss happens before the food gets to the consumer and is typically an unintended result of the agricultural and distribution processes. Examples of process discrepancies that can cause food loss include problems with pests and issues with the storage, packing, and transportation of the produce. Although food loss is typically the consequence of things such as underdeveloped infrastructure and legal frameworks, it also encompasses the production losses that occur when food is selected for by appearance and quality standards. “Ugly” produce then is left unharvested or thrown away.
Food waste, on the other hand, is when food is thrown away either before or after it spoils and happens primarily in stores and at home. Essentially, food waste happens somewhere along the journey from the shelf to the table. Food can be tossed out if it is imperfect, about to hit its “best-before” date, or left unused.
With these distinctions in mind, the fact that food waste remains such a prevalent issue even in developed countries means that a great deal of food that is readily available for people to eat is simply thrown away. This should be a wake-up call for us to change the way that we value food. Every food item that is wasted carries upon its back the hard work of the people who produced it, natural resources, and the lives of those who don’t have access to it. Let’s work together to stop our massive food waste problem.