Astoundingly, about 931 million tons of food are wasted every year, according to the World Economic Forum. Meanwhile, around 2.3 billion people are food insecure, the United Nations (UN) reports.
Adding insult to injury, unconsumed food produces 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The UN Sustainable Development Goals aims to slash the amount of food waste in half by 2030. The majority of food waste is from households, with about a quarter from food service and the remainder from retail.
Bringing hope are innovators that have gotten creative about addressing the problem. Irregular fruits and vegetables are being rescued by companies like online value grocer Misfit Produce, condiment maker Rubies in the Rubble, vegetable-based pasta producer Wholy Greens, and flavored sparkling water maker Dash Water. Meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh and Home Chef supply precise quantities for recipes. Some food is even getting a second life, as Nam Mushrooms employs used coffee grounds to grow mushrooms; Regrained puts to use nutrient-laden grain waste from brewing beer to make flour; The Real Dill makes extraneous cucumber-infused pickling water into Bloody Mary Mix; and Sir Kensington’s uses leftover chickpea liquid from a hummus manufacturer to make vegan mayo.
New ways are being discovered to slow produce from rotting, connect surplus food to nonprofits, alert people via apps about food approaching expiration in their fridge or at nearby restaurants for a discount, and even to make food waste into furniture, wall paneling, food packaging, shirts, toys and electricity. This is one global food fight worth fighting for.
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