Food Waste: What’s the world’s most wasted foods and what you can do to reduce food waste

Around one third of the food produced in the world every year – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – wasted.

That food is wasted at every stage from farm to table. In fields, unpicked, “ugly” produce is left to rot. In grocery stores, workers reject blemished yet edible fruits and veggies. And in homes, people ignore leftovers and throw out perishables before they’ve expired.

World’s most wasted foods

The seven most wasted foods in the world, according to the UN, are:

  1. Root vegetables such as potatoes, beets, carrots and radishes
  2. Fruits and vegetables
  3. Tuna, salmon, prawns and other seafood
  4. Grains such as cereal, bread and rice
  5. Pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and beans
  6. Meat and poultry including beef, pork and chicken
  7. Dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt

What you can do to minimise food waste:

  • Buy wonky fruit and veg – some services deliver unwanted fruits and veggies to your door and some grocery stores sell wonky fruit and veg at a reduced price
  • Shop at farmers’ markets – reduce wasteful behaviours like grocery store overstocking by purchasing your food directly from the source
  • Shop daily – if you live near markets or stores and it is convenient for you, buy what you are going to eat on the day
  • Eat leftovers the next day – people often neglect their leftovers the day after they’re made, assuming they’ll eat them later in the week. But the longer you wait, the less appetising those leftovers are going to seem. Take them into work with you to eat at lunch

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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