How Wasted Produce Can Solve World Hunger
Nearly 800 million people worldwide suffer from starvation, yet according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, 2.9 trillion pounds of food goes to waste every year globally. That's twice as enough to feed every single one of them! Developing countries have lost much of their produce post-harvest from inadequate storage and lack of road development. Developed nations such as ourselves waste more produce further down the supply chain. Where is all that wasted produce going?
Fruits and vegetables have the tendency to bruise, brown wilt, scar, and discolour which is something shoppers will not tolerate. Supermarket standards and ordering practices lead to massive waste of fresh produce. Fresh edible produce is left out in the field and in our warehouses to rot due to aesthetic reasons. Retailers and consumers in the United States discard 133 billion pounds of produce every year. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that wasted food is the single biggest occupant in American landfills.
The power of rejection from retail chains such as Safeway, Walmart, and Costco create fear from the family farmer to main producers. Once they have rejected your produce, even though it has passed USDA inspection, there is nothing you can do. This is known as a ''kickback'' in the industry. If the PACA act (Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act 1931) is used against them, they will never order from you again. Why jeopardize five million dollars in sales over an eight thousand dollar load?
Wasted produce also inflicts a massive toll on the environment. Water, fertiliser, pesticides, seeds, fuel, and land are wasted as well for produce production. California growers annually trash thousands of tons of fresh produce every year because of lack of sufficient shelf life for transport. The consumer's standards for perfect, blemish free produce is unrealistic. One day the population will learn to appreciate ugly and consumable fruits and vegetables.