According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ‘around 14% of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail). The FAO makes a distinction between food loss and food waste. Food loss refers to food which is lost from the harvest and during production and transportation. Food waste refers to the food that is wasted at a retail or consumer level. 29 September is the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW).   

Let's celebrate International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on Sept. 29 by taking action to reduce food waste! We can all make a difference in helping to raise awareness on this important issue, as around one-third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted every year. This day was first established by the United Nations in December 2019 with the goal of reducing the amount of food that goes to waste and increasing efficiency in food production.

In a world where the number of hungry people has been gradually increasing since 2014 and where tones and tones of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day, reducing food losses and waste is crucial. 13 percent of the food produced worldwide is lost between harvest and retail, and 17 percent of the total amount of food produced is wasted by households, restaurants, and stores combined.

The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, with the 2023 theme “Reducing food loss and waste:  Taking Action to Transform Food Systems”.  This is an opportunity to mobilize both the public (national or local authorities) and the private sector (businesses and individuals), to prioritize actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste towards restoring and building back better and resilient-ready, food systems.

Why is it important to reduce food loss and waste?

With seven years left to reach targets 1, 2, and 3 of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG), there is an urgent need to accelerate action to reduce food loss and waste.


        i.            Food loss and waste has a large environmental impact

Food that is wasted requires energy, water and land resources to produce, but when this food is wasted it goes to landfill where it decomposes and emits potent greenhouse gases. Not only that, but the resources needed to transport uneaten food creates additional carbon emissions and pollution.

      ii.            Food loss and waste has an economic impact

In addition to the environmental costs of food waste, there are also financial ones. Wasted food means lost revenue for businesses and individuals both in terms of money spent on production and transportation, as well as the potential profits from sales of those products.

    iii.            Reducing food loss and waste helps fight hunger

Food loss in developing countries contributes significantly to malnutrition and starvation. By reducing our global food losses, we’re able to redistribute what would have been wasted food to those in need around the world helping fight poverty while helping those on the brink of starvation.

Tips to reduce food wastage:

i.                    Shop smart

While buying in bulk may be convenient, you shouldn’t buy a lot as it leads to food wastage.

ii.                  Properly store food

Food, if not stored properly, would get spoiled food like potatoes, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions should never be refrigerated.

iii.                Learn to preserve

Choose the right method of preservation for your food to avoid wastage as it isn’t one size fits all.

iv.                Don’t overstock your fridge

Stock your fridge using the FIFO method, which stands for ‘first in, first out.’

v.                  Eat the skin

The skin of carrots, apples, mangoes, potatoes and the like should be eaten and not thrown away as they are very nutritious.


Food waste has serious social and environmental implications. Properly food management and store food in well way is a very efficient and cost effective way to control food waste and loss during production, transportation and storage. It has the added benefit of increasing efficiency and profitability by avoiding unnecessary expenses.

About the Author: Hajra Ashfaq has completed her BS Environmental science from GCWUS. She has a keen interest to write about environment and spread mass awareness.