What is Food Waste?

What is food waste and where does it occur?

  • Britz states “Food waste is defined as discarding raw or cooked food materials at any stage of the supply chain and consumption” (1).
  • Britz confirms “it consists of waste generated by households before, during or after food preparation as well as wasted raw and cooked food by farms, retailers, food processing companies, and restaurants etc… Food waste is categorized in 4 broad groups according to where it occurs, i.e. the source of waste: Agricultural sector, households, food processing, retail and food services sectors” (1).
  • Specht states “We still need more definitive data on how much food is lost at each step of the food chain, but the best estimates are that the two largest producers of food waste are farms and households” (Specht).

Just understanding the basic definition of food waste is already a step in the right direction. Once one understands food waste, they can make an informed decision on what their stance is and what they can do to help.

Knowing where food waste occurs can help pin point where to begin helping at a level that is realistic to the individual.