Food is considered one of the basic needs of life and is essential for every individual, including humans, animals, and microorganisms, etc. Every individual has their own choice of food and can utilize a certain amount of food daily or at one time. Fulfill the need of food for the residence of any country is among the top priorities of the government. Every person spends enough percent of their money to remove the hunger and get satiated. It is also the United Nation’s sustainable development goal to remove hunger. At one edge the rich people can enjoy different varieties and types of food and waste a large amount of their remaining, and at the other sides, the poor people can pick these waste foods from different places and quench their hunger, thus creating a huge imbalance and disparities in the society.

The terms “food loss” and “food waste” are sometimes used interchangeably but there is a difference between the two. The farmer word describes the loss during production, storage, processing, and reaching the consumers, while the later term explain loss of food after reaching to the consumers i.e. after the cooking and eating of food [6] [10].  

According to a previous report [1], in U.S 30-40% of their foods are wasted each year that is equal to $161 billion. Food waste also waste agriculture water as much as 24% per year [3]. Unfortunately, food loss is occur at every step, initially from production to the consumption, comprising the processing, packing, and delivery steps. Food is not only wasted because of human involvement, as it is also lost by animals and microbes and aid to the economic losses. Food wastage is considered a potential threat for every sector like health, agriculture, manufacturer, researchers, officials, and all other domains of one health. A positive spark in this field is still exist if use the food wisely, eating according to need, preparing as required and distributing according to the requirement.

Food wastage checkpoints

Food wastage is very possible and easy to implement. Food is saved from wastage by multiples approaches and methods. Controlling food waste is essential in many ways like the population increasing, and agriculture land are reduced etc. According to a United Nation report [2] about 13% of produced food are lost between harvest and retail and approximately 17% of total food waste occur in the household. There are multiple points in which the food stuffs are lost due to multiple reasons, these checkpoints are illustrated in Figure 1.







Figure 1: Important food wastage checkpoints

1-      Agriculture

It is the first entry of food and a large amount of food is wasted at this point. Food agriculture waste means how we can reduce food wastage at this level. This level ranges from seeding to complete fruit formation. At this stage, the wastage is almost equally contributed by humans and other animals, as the former don’t take care properly, while the later can cause harm by eating, transferring of pathogens and other disease causing agents. Wastage at this point is reduced by proper handling, use of insecticides, and proper caring.

2-      Harvesting of food

At this stage, most of the food is lost due to human’s carelessness. The farmers don’t take proper care of the foodstuffs and thus waste a lot at this stage. Proper handling, care, and proper protection for forecast etc. are the protective measures.

3-      Transportation of food

It is important to carry the un-processed foodstuffs to different industries to convert them into their finalized shapes. During this transport and loading and unloading of foodstuffs cause a wastage of it. This is overcome by proper handling, care, and smooth transport or making more industries which shorten the transport distance.

4-      Industrial food processing

Once the foodstuffs are reached to industries, it is the place in which multiple products are prepared according to the demand and type of industry. A huge amount of foodstuffs are wasted at this stage. It is an important point of food wastage control as more and more unnecessary products are prepared. Proper check and balance, manufacturing according to demand, and good handling can reduce wastage at this point.

5-      Food preparation at restaurants

Once the food substances are prepared, they are transferred to their utilization, i.e. restaurants, hotels and homes. This is the most crucial, potential, and important point of food wastage. Every day tons of food substances are prepared and then wasted. Millions of restaurants can prepare different varieties of foodstuffs for their consumers and the majority of these prepared food is wasted due to multiples factors. At this stage, the food waste is control at the maximum capacity.

6-      Individual level

The end users of this series are the human. At the individual level every person, irrespective of gender, age, caste, etc. can make their own choice of food substances and as he/she is fed up the remaining food is thrown into waste boxes. At this level food wastage is controled by eating at the proper time, eating as the capacity and storage of the remaining food for next time, are the recommended points. 

The best way to reduce food wastage is to follow the Islamic principle obediently. There are multiple verses and Hadith are present which teach us to don’t waste the food [11].

Food wastage reduction tips  

There are multiple ways through which we can reduce the food wastage. At every point mentioned above, certain level of food waste are reduced. The important tips for food waste reduction are summarized in figure 2. 

Figure 2: Important food waste reduction tips

Food waste reduction approaches

There are multiple ways through which food waste is reduced. At different places and different locations, the waste are reduces. At home, a huge amount of food waste is reduced as it is reported that more than 90% of food waste at home is found in the sewers [5][8].  

The important places and their food waste reduction methods are described below [1].

1-      Shopping and selection of food

To buy foodstuff, use a smart shopping approach i.e. buy according to your need not for your satisfaction [4] [6] [7]. To avoid extra shopping and purchasing extra food stuffs use the following rules.

i-                    Avoid frequent visit to shops

ii-                  Make a purchase list

iii-                Buy for a few days instead of bulk purchasing

iv-                Take those stuff that have a long shelf life

v-                  Keep in mind the nutritional value of food


2-      Storage, preservation, and saving of food

It is important to properly store the purchased foodstuffs. Knowing good preservation methods one can store their food for a longer time and remain safe from spoilage. According to Natural Resource Defense Council, in the UK, two-thirds of household waste is due to food spoilage [4] [5] [7]. During the storage and preservation keep in mind the following

i-                    Store at the proper place and accessible location

ii-                  Separate food from each so each stuff will remain safe

iii-                Use different preservation methods like pickling, drying, canning, etc. for food

iv-                Avoid spoilage by properly organizing the fridge stuff

v-                  Used first-in first-out approach while keeping foods in the fridge for storage.

3-      Cooking and eating

The kitchen is an important place for waste reduction. The kitchen location is not restricted to home as it is located in hotels and restaurants and become the instant place of food waste [6]. At this place food waste is reduced by

a-      Prepared food as required

b-      Make the food tasty so everyone should eat

c-      Clean the environment so food loss will not occur

d-      Keep a record of what and how much is prepared

e-      Develop a meal plan for daily or weekly consumption.

f-       Save the left-over food wisely

g-      Use the stored food next time.

Benefits of preventing food wastage

According to a report [9] worldwide 40% of all produced food are wasted by human which can lead to a great loss in the economy. Hence it is important to reduce food wastage at every possible point and place which not only saves the food but can also aid to multiple benefits. These benefits are summarized in the following figure 3. 

Figure 3. Benefits of preventing food substances from wastage.


Food is the basic need of every individual but unfortunately due to various reasons we lose a large amount of our food both before utilization (food loss) and after consumption (food waste). There are multiple checkpoints for instance from agriculture production to transport and processing, and from shopping to eating, a good proportion of food is wasted which accounts for 40% globally. Important tips like shopping wisely and frequently, proper storage, preparation as required, and use the leftover food again, can overcome food wastage. By saving the food today we can save it for our coming generations.

About the Author: Abrar Hussain received his master’s degree in chemistry/ biochemistry from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan. He also obtained C.T. (certified teacher), B.Ed. and M.Ed. degree in science education from Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Recently he completed his M.Phil./MS degree in biochemistry from HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, ICCBS, and University of Karachi. His research focuses on the assessment and validation of enterococcal strains as probiotics. He is a young researcher and speaker in the field of probiotics science and delivered many online lectures. He is also writing blogs on various topics. Besides his scientific carrier, he is trying to educate the young researcher not only in their scientific carrier but also polish their moral and social skills.