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Photo by: Propagandatimes

Welcome to a world of plenty. Feel free to waste.

EVEN AS we’ve officially reached 7 billion souls on our planet, more than 14% are still chronically malnourished.

And while analysts spend precious time calculating how much more food should be produced to feed the hungry, and thoughtful citizens update their Facebook statuses for an hour to “help eradicate World Hunger,” food prices are slowly increasing and soils are becoming poorer, yielding fewer crops every year.

And, of course, the hungry stay hungry.

Because the problem doesn’t lie in how much more food we need. We already produce enough to feed everyone. But about one third of this food goes to waste, especially in the Western ‘developed’ world.

Here’s an infographic created by Public Health Degree that explores this scandal in more detail.

So what small steps can we take to help? Stop buying in bulk, cook what you need and finish that damn plate of yours instead of pushing your food around with your fork.



About The Author

Daniel Nahabedian

Daniel left behind his cubicle in 2009 to start a RTW journey & follow his true passion: photography. He is currently settling down in Thailand to work on his Travel Photo Blog Canvas of Light & become a full time freelance Travel Photographer.

  • Guest

    Cool article. I really like the comparison between food waste vs food loss. It’s sad because even if developed countries wasted no food at all it wouldn’t solve anything. Quantity of food isn’t the problem, it’s the distribution of food to places that need it (it’s not simple to get food from Iowa to the Congo). Something the B&MGF have been working on for years.

    But it makes me sick to see people in US leave food on their plates. I’ve been to countries where food is a precious commodity and not everyone has it. Only buy what you need and eat everything you buy. Even though it’s not a zero sum game.

  • Guest

    I don’t understand why composting was thrown in as a way to eliminate food waste.  Whether I put food in the garbage or the compost pile, it’s still waste.

    • Christopher Reid

      Because when you put it in the garbage it goes to a landfill and ‘goes to waste’… but when you put it in the compost, the unused energy in the food is broken down into something (soil) that can eventually be used to grow MORE FOOD

  • Garrett

    Quite the infographic. 

    The transfer of food from developed to developing countries is never going to be feasible. How can we accelerate new technique adoption in the countries that need it?

    • Conceptualcat

      Technique is incredibly important I’m glad you grasped that, but culture, government, and infrastructure is the rest of the equation. The “waste” issue is misleading and only serves to draw attention to the whole “Starbuck” feel good mentality.

  • Lizzie

    But how does not wasting food help feed others? Do the grocery stores take the food they dont sell and ship it to Asia and Africa? I really doubt that they do. I get that wasting food is bad but I have a hard time seeing any correlation between the food we waste and the food other people don’t have. I guess if people took the money they saved from buying extra food and donated it to feeding starving people it would be helpful.

    • SG F

      I agree. I could not see the correlation. Cannot see it when we are supposed to conserve water also. The same water keeps getting recycled over and over again.

      • Conceptualcat

        See that’s what’s wrong with the progressive movement in a nutshell. Make me as an American feel guilty but provide no answers. I “waste” water by taking a 10 minute shower, but I live near a river so my water is cleaned and redistributed back into the same river. That is infrastructure. 
        The same for food. We have a surplus because of modern agriculture and supply lines. I send money to Africa to fight famine but there the government puts a strangle hold on supply. There isn’t a real correlation. It’s about political power, not boots on the ground reality.

  • Dustin Main

    Although I appreciate a cool infographic as much as the next person, I hate it when they produce graphs that are misleading.  A passing glance at the “Estimated Number of Undernourished People Worldwide” graph may lead you to believe that the number of people affected was nearly non-existent in 1995, and balloons to nearly 5x as much in 2009.  A closer look at the scale on the right shows that it was likely a 30% increase.

    Not disputing the numbers at all, but the presentation by the groups that create these (in this case should be held to a higher standard.

  • James Cave

    Eating everything on your plate isn’t the answer. What’s the difference between wasting food or over-filling yourself with food you don’t need? Either way, the starving person will never see that food.

    Waste is a big issue, but perhaps we should be looking at ways to only cook what we need or to store and re-use food, rather than cooking up a fresh dish?

    Just a thought. 

  • Conceptualcat

    The entire, “What you can do” section has no basis in reality. What food that is in our supply chain cannot, and will not, be directed to those who need it if we don’t “waste” it. The issue is Culture, Government, and Infrastructure at the point of need. There is plenty of food to go around but the supply chain in every meaning of the term is not there. The real problem that needs to be addressed in the long term is population growth and decreasing yields in a post-oil economy.

  • Online Injury Guide

    I hate it when I see people wasting food. I see it so often happen in public. Often there are so many who eat about half their plate and then leave. The majority of take-away stands do offer a public box of some kind so you can take your food home to finish it.

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