How can we feed the world? Let’s start reducing food waste
December 3, 2015
The number of challenges we are facing starts with raw materials and goes until consumption, touching the entire food chain. That’s why we need to learn how to integrate the entire food chain and how to work together. The number of new emerging technologies available, such as high pressure, pulsed electric field and cold athomsferic plasma, may really help to revitalize existing technologies and to interface traditional technologies and new technologies to create completely new products.
At the moment we have a tremendous issue of waste on the food chain and it is very interesting that in developing countries waste is on the farm level, after harvest, while in the developed countries like Italy, Europe and the United States, waste is mainly at the store level, at the household level or at the restaruant level.
What we need here is some sociale help to educate people how to deal with this increasing number of waste. Another option is that we are working on the recovering of waste and on how to convert into useful byproducts and biochemical nutrients again.
This is one of the key strategies: ideally we create technologies which don’t produce any waste in the first place. But we also need to educate consumers that almost 50% of the food is wasted at households. That means people at home are throwing away almost 50% of the already processed food and this is, to me, the greatest waste. We import raw material from the developing countries and then we process it or, sometimes, we even ship it back and forth a couple of times and then we finally process it and then we eat it and then we throw it away.
But there is also a legal issue in Europe because of the shelf life date. In Germany for instance, you have a given shelf life date, and it requires that you really destroy the food once the shelf life is expired. So legally you are even not allowed to give this kind of food from stores to the poor because this is illegal and it can be potentially a problem.