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Food wastage: A Visual Guide

An Italian friend of mine who has been struggling for a long time to find a long term job due to the economic crisis in Europe, told me about a very positive experience she had while spending some time in Spain. Close to Granada, in the south of Spain, there is a market where you can go and ask to have whatever they have to throw away. They will give you the vegetables, bread or fruits that are not so pretty anymore for sale, or things that have to be eaten soon otherwise are lost. My friend was of course very happy and surprised, as this would be very unlikely to happen in Rome, where she lives. People are ashamed to ask, and sellers are not likely to offer food for free.

Initiatives like this are one of the things the world needs, if we are to stop food waste. Each year 1.3bn tonnes of food, about a third of all that is produced, is wasted. This includes about 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat. That is not all, as water is needed to produce food. When food is wasted or lost, water is also wasted. It takes 700 litres of water to produce one kilogram of pears and 15,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of red meat. Meanwhile, 795 million people suffer from severe hunger and malnutrition.

Whether we talk about spoiled but perfectly good to be eaten goods, valuable calories, hectares of agricultural land or household expenditure, the numbers of global food losses and waste are alarming. Here is a complete visual guide to understand food waste throughout the world.
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