Food is one of our basic requirements for life. It takes centre stage in family rituals and celebrations and is the star of many of the world’s most popular Instagram feeds. Yet every year one-third of the total amount the world produces – around 1.3 billion tonnes – is wasted.
That, says the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is not just a misuse of the world’s natural resources, it’s also a huge part of our carbon footprint – 8% of global emissions to be precise.
According to Project Drawdown, which champions the 100 most impactful solutions to reduce global warming, reducing food waste is No.3 on the hit list. “If 50% of food waste is reduced by 2050, avoided emissions could be equal to 26.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide,” the Project says.
And that’s just for starters. “Reducing waste also avoids the deforestation for additional farmland, preventing 44.4 gigatons of additional emissions.”
Achieving the ambition of cutting food waste depends on action across all parts of the food supply chain: reducing emissions from agriculture, revisiting purchase patterns and redistributing food before it is wasted.
It’s an issue that Unilever’s Foods and Refreshment team are putting front and centre, covering product development, Unilever Food Solutions’ work with the restaurants around the world and the way consumers can rely on some of our most popular brands, such as Hellmann’s, for help in using leftovers and unloved ingredients in imaginative and tasty ways.