The future generations

The impact on tomorrow

The actions of today will have severe consequences for a sustainable future on our planet. Currently, we have enough resources and food to feed a growing population, but unfortunately much of it goes to waste. If we continue with business as usual, more populations will face adverse food insecurity and shortages.

What is the current status?

  • We currently produce enough food for 10 billion people – everyone today and those expected in 2050 (Holt-Gimenez et al., 2012; UN, 2017)
  • We will need to raise food production by 60% in order to meet the 2050 population demand (FAO, 2013)
  • At the moment, there is enough food produced yearly to relatively sustain the world’s population, although over 800 million people still go to bed hungry each night and 1 billion people are overfed (FAO, IFAD & WFP, 2015)
  • By Earth Overshoot Day 2019, we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year (OvershootDay, 2019)
  • If everyone on the planet consumed as much as the average US citizen, four Earths would be needed to sustain them (McDonald, 2015) - 2.8 Earths would be needed if we would all be Europeans (The Guardian, 2019; Global Footprint Network, 2019)

So what is the problem?

Food insecurity is a problem across the world. Around one person out of every nine in the world is undernourished (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP & WHO. 2018). In the EU alone, 43 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day (European Commission, 2019).

"Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry" 

Pope Francis, 2013

How does food waste impact food security and nutrition? 

Based on research conducted by the HLPE, food waste leads to:

  1. Reduction in global and local availability of food
  2. Negative impact on food access, for those involved in harvest and post-harvest operations and who face food waste-related economic and income losses, and for consumers due to the contribution of food waste to tightening the food market and raising prices of food
  3. The unsustainable use of natural resources on which the future production of food depends

What would happen if we didn't waste as much food?

  • If we save 1/4 of the food currently lost or wasted, we can feed the 870 million people going to bed hungry. Latin America and Africa could feed 600 million people and Europe 200 million people (FAO, 2016).
  • Food waste could feed the world four times over. Just ¼ of the food wasted in the first world could feed all of the people starving in the third world (The Guardian, 2015)
  • It is estimated that by reducing the levels of food waste by up to 50% in developed regions, the number of undernourished people would decrease by up to 63.3 million in developing regions (Munesue et al., 2015)