Understanding when, where and why perfectly edible food drops out of our food supply chains even in the most food insecure countries is one of the challenges of our times. With one third of food produced for human consumption lost and wasted every year globally and over 820 million people going hungry or suffering from malnutrition, this has to be an urgent issue to address. About 14 per cent of the world’s food is lost on its way from the farm to a shop causing 8 % of human-made greenhouse gas emissions. The economic cost of lost and wasted food amounts to 1.2 trillion USD annually, and that is in addition to continuous waste of precious environmental and human resources to produce “invisible” food.
UNECE addresses the food loss and waste challenge in many ways in close collaboration with government partners as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), civil society and the private sector, through both its standardization and the food loss and waste work. The 16 November UNECE-FAO Roundtable on “Food for partnership: sustainable, resilient and climate-proof food supply chains” presented one of the outcomes: [email protected] , an online system which identifies, quantifies, and traces the food that disappears from food supply chains before ever reaching the points of retail.
Developed in response to a lack of systematically collected information on food loss and waste, [email protected] is a unique blockchain-powered solution aimed at making currently invisible food available and ensuring universal access to nutritious and healthy food by managing waste and surplus food. [email protected] is a stand-alone solution which can be integrated with alternative supply chains (commercial and charitable) in order to redistribute otherwise discarded food for upcycling (drying, juicing or processing) or to foodbanks. The roundtable also showcased several other innovative solutions, such as using discarded bread for beer production; drying rejected tomatoes in Africa and shipping them to Europe for ketchup production; and scheduling cafeteria meals in advance to reduce waste.
By identifying the food loss hotspots throughout the value chain, [email protected] will enhance new income and employment opportunities, particularly for those who are currently most affected by food produced but never marketed or consumed such as small-scale farmers or traders. [email protected] will help policy makers reach informed decisions for addressing food loss and waste and transition towards more circular food production and responsible food consumption. This, in turn accelerates sustainable development progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on zero hunger and SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production.