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  • A third of all food is lost or wasted.

  • Globally, that's 1.3bn tonnes per year,

  • enough to end hunger many times over.

  • It's also responsible for more carbon emissions

  • than any country besides China and America.

  • But what can be done and how much waste is inevitable?

  • One often mooted solution is buying

  • more so-called ugly food, perfectly edible

  • produce that doesn't meet supermarkets

  • higher aesthetic requirements.

  • Startups like Misfits Markets, Imperfect Foods

  • and Hungry Harvest market this ugly food

  • to environmentally-minded eaters.

  • But critics maintain that this produce is seldom

  • actually wasted.

  • More likely, it would have ended up in a pie or a soup,

  • or been donated to a food bank.

  • The California-based non-profit ReFED analysed 27 ways

  • to reduce food waste and found the most effective were

  • solutions like education campaigns and changing

  • packaging sizes to prevent over purchasing.

  • Most promising of all was also perhaps the least glamorous

  • method, standardising date labels.

  • Confusion around sell by, best by, use by,

  • and the best before dates accounts for around 20

  • per cent consumer food waste, while loosening ugly produce

  • rules only ranked 18th out of 27.

  • But there must be buy-in from food producers,

  • and waste reduction doesn't always make business sense.

  • And customers who throw out edible food

  • usually buy even more from the grocery store.

  • The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation

  • says that governments must step in and pressure

  • businesses to act.

  • Still, some win-wins exist.

  • Improving technology for predicting food demand

  • and tracking waste would limit over stocking, cutting

  • both costs and waste.

  • Ultimately, there are no silver bullets neither businesses,

  • governments, nor consumers can solve the problem alone.

  • Though a zero food waste world is unlikely, tackling the issue

  • can offer substantial financial and environmental payoffs.

A third of all food is lost or wasted.

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