International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

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The first ever observance of the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction is being celebrated on 29 September, 2020. It was designated in 2019 by the 74th United Nations General Assembly.

  • It also comes during the global COVID-19 pandemic, that has brought about a global wake-up on the need to transform and rebalance the way our food is produced and consumed.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues generating significant challenges to food security in many countries. Disruptions in supply chains, quarantine measures, the closure of much of the hospitality industry and schools… All these measures have resulted in a loss of markets for producers and distributors, making the situation even more challenging while dealing with high levels of food waste.
  • At the downstream end of the supply chain, with panic buying and stockpiling by consumers, supermarkets, which are often key donors to food banks, struggled to keep their shelves stocked and are unable to donate food. Meanwhile, much of the food purchased by households was discarded as food waste, because of a misunderstanding of date marking and improper storage of these household food items.


Why is it important to reduce food loss and waste?

  • Reducing food losses and waste is essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and tons and tons of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day.
  • Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail. Significant quantities are also wasted in retail and at the consumption level.
  • Food loss and waste also puts unnecessary pressure on the natural resource base and on the environment, depleting the natural resource base and generating greenhouse gases.


A new International Day with a difficult starting point

  • Cutting food loss and waste reduces poverty and hunger and fights climate change. 
  • In terms of climate change, the damage will be reduced taking into account that nowadays, food loss and waste is responsible for about 7% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nearly 30% of the world’s agricultural land is currently occupied to produce food that is ultimately never consumed, just to name a few examples.
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