2 – The increased amount of food waste
A third of all food produced globally goes to waste. This was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and ever since, this waste crisis has only worsened, with significant consequences for world hunger and the climate. Disturbance in the food supply chain caused by the Covid-19 has resulted in a paradox of an unprecedented amount of food waste and remarkable demand on food banks, highlighting the flaws present in our food system.
While most wasted food is thrown out at home in developed countries, almost two-thirds of the global food supply is lost elsewhere. For example, at the production and distribution of the supply chain, food items are predominantly damaged during loading and unloading, and subsequently discarded if they do not meet required standards of quality, size, shape, color, and appearance. The food service industry, including restaurants and schools, too are massive contributors to these food waste problems.
It has become particularly problematic in today’s climate, where many of the biggest buyers of farmers and food producers in the foodservice industry, are forced to reduce their productivity or shut down their operations due to Government enforced social distancing guidelines. Although farmers would like to sell their excess produce to grocery outlets, products normally sold to food service operations cannot always be sold to retailers, without incurring extra costs, as they may also have different quality expectations, or other requirements. Even if they may try to donate it to food banks, they tend to be up against an inflexible supply chain that is specialized for the end customer.