THE NEED for better food management has been stressed again this week as new research highlights the action needed to tackle food waste, amid warnings of future food shocks as a result of climate change.
Focussing on food waste, a Vision 2020 report released this month found that tackling food waste could save households, businesses and the public sector £17bn annually.
It would also prevent 27m tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) from entering the atmosphere; return over 1.3m tonnes of valuable nutrients to the soil and generate over 1Twh electricity, enough to power over 600,000 homes.
The savings could be achieved through a range of measures such as replacing food waste to landfill by 2020 with separated food waste collection from homes and businesses; collaborations between supply chain stakeholders and greater food waste education in schools, colleges and professional training programmes.
Meanwhile, the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and the Global Food System Resilience warned that major shocks in global food production will become three times more likely by 2040 as climate change is responsible for more extreme weather events.
Currently, the likelihood of such shocks, where production of the world’s four major commodity crops of maize, soybean, wheat and rice, falls by 5-7%, is once in a century. However, experts believe such events will occur every 30 years by 2040.
Shocks could lead the UN’s food price index to rocket by 50%.
People in developing countries would be most severely affected, but the UK and US would still be exposed to the conflict and instability that would result.