food that is lost and wasted. The land area used to produce lost and wasted food is more than 100 times the 13 million hectares of forests that are being cleared every year (FAO 2010a), 80 per cent of which is for agricultural expansion (Kissinger et al. 2012). Developing countries account for about two-thirds of all land used to produce food that is lost or wasted. On the contrary they account for less than half of all food loss and waste. The large share of land is to a great extent explained by the countries’ reliance on grassland for feeding animals. For example, in North Africa, Western Asia and Central Asia, grasslands have low productivity, which increases the area needed for grazing. Combined, food loss and waste occupy over 360 million hectares of land in these regions (FAO 2013b). Food loss and waste are closely linked to climate change in that petroleum fuels are heavily used in nearly all aspects of food production. One estimate suggests that food loss and waste have an annual carbon footprint of 3.3 giga-tonnes of carbon dioxide (FAO 2013b). In the United States, about 300 million barrels of oil are used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted. In addition, when food decomposes it produces emissions of methane gas, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat, thus making food waste a significant contributor to climate change (FAO 2012c). It is a paradox that lost and wasted food threatens the production of new food by contributing to climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2014:18) “all aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and price stability”. While estimated impacts differ between regions, some projects suggest yield losses of more than 25 per cent for the period 2030 to 2049 compared to the late 20th century (IPCC 2014).
in developed countries equals the entire food production of sub- Saharan Africa (FAO 2014a). On average, 20 to 25 per cent of food that is bought in developed countries is wasted by consumers (Juul 2013), while in the United States, food loss and waste are estimated to be as high as 50 per cent (Stuart 2009). Food loss and waste are not only a threat to food security, but also have significant economic costs. Globally, the direct economic cost of food loss and waste is estimated at between US$750 billion (FAO 2013b) and US$980 billion annually (Gustavsson et al. 2011b,c). The economic cost is highest in developed countries, representing over 65 per cent of the global cost (Gustavsson et al. 2011b,c). Food loss and waste are not only about lost calories for human consumption, but also about the negative environmental impacts and degradation of ecosystems that production of food causes throughout the food supply chain. For example, it takes over 1 600 litres of water to produce 1 kilogramme of wheat bread (Mekonnen and Hoekstra 2010), or 5 060 litres of water to produce 1 kilogramme of cheese (Mekonnen and Hoekstra 2012). The same amount of water is wasted if the food is never consumed. In total it is estimated that about 28 million tonnes of fertilizers are used annually to produce the food that is lost and wasted (Lipinski et al. 2013), while causing the threat of eutrophication of nearby water ecosystems. A projected 5 to 25 per cent of the world’s food production capacity may be lost by 2050 due to climate change, land degradation, cropland losses, water scarcity and species infestations (Nellemann et al. 2009), which is equal to the food supply of an estimated 0.4–2.4 billion people by 2050. According to the FAO (2013b), 1.4 billion hectares of land are used to produce the amount of