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Food Waste

Key Fact

  • A third of the food we produce is wasted. 

There are lots of reasons why food is wasted.  In some countries food is lost due to poor storage after harvest. In others, food waste happens on farms, because it doesn’t meet retailer specifications, or in people’s homes. It is disastrous that we are wasting so much food when so many people don’t have access to enough! 

Why do we waste food at home?  

  • Our busy lives affect our shopping habits 
  • It takes planning and time to create meals, for anyone from a single person to large families 
  • Packaging dictates how much food is sold at once, which often encourages us to buy more than we need  
  • Labelling and ‘best before’ dates can be unclear, leading us to throw away food that is in fact still edible 
  • The cost of owning a fridge/freezer and limited storage space can make it hard to keep leftovers. 

In some countries, wasted food is collected from households and used to generate energy, but this doesn’t combat the food being wasted in the first place.  

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have set a target to half all retail and consumer food waste by 2030. We have less than nine years to solve the problem – how can governments improve the relationship between production and consumption, and promote the redistribution of waste food? And how can we support people to waste less food?  



Maureen Muketha

Maureen Muketha, 25, Kenya

Having my roots in a semi-arid area with high cases of malnutrition in Kenya, food was always scarce, disease and poverty were prevalent. This created an innate desire in me to ensure future generations would have access to food as a basic human right.


Maureen is a Nutritionist working on projects to address the nutrition gap in Kenya. She set up a social enterprise to deliver education talks and raise awareness of feeding habits and improve local food security through vertical gardening and cultivating indigenous vegetables. Read more about Maureens’ story on Act4Food.