Where is food lost and wasted?
Between the time food leaves the farms and reaches our homes, food goes through a number of processes that make up a long chain called the Food Supply Chain (FSC).
Let us see each stage of the FSC and the kind of waste that occurs there:
Waste and losses here result from mechanical damage, where farming equipment accidentally damage the fruits and vegetables. It also includes spills and attacks by insects and other diseases. Losses on animals resulting from diseases and deaths during breeding also fall here. Fish discards are also a factor.
Harvest, post harvest handling, storage:
There are losses here too, resulting from handling of the fruits (foods) during harvesting, storage, and transporting of the produce from farms to the processing centers. This is same for animal farms, where there are losses to animals at the slaughterhouses, as well as meat and fish going bad at storage centers.
In India for example, about 21 million tonnes of wheat annually perishes due to inadequate storage and distribution, equivalent to the entire production of Australia.
Food produce that are processed into juices, can foods and pastries also get wasted at the processing centers. During peeling, slicing, boiling and sorting, lots of food are trimmed away by processing equipment. This is similar to dairy production, where milk is lost during pasteurizing. Some losses also occur during fish canning, smoking and salting.
At the market centers, lots of fresh food rot and get thrown away. In wholesale and retail shops, foods reach their expiry dates and get thrown away. Processed foods such as juices, milk, oil and soups spill each day in many market and grocery centers.
These include all losses from food services, homes, schools, hospitals. Lots of pastries, milk, juices and food are thrown away because they were unsold or were not eaten. Of the quantity that does reach the supermarket shelves, 30–50% is thrown away by the final purchaser in the home.
1,2 GLOBAL FOOD WASTE NOT,WANT NOT. http://www.imeche.org/docs/default-source/reports/Global_Food_Report.pdf?sfvrsn=0