What are food loss and food waste?

Food waste is simply food intended for consumption that is discarded along the food supply chain and can no longer be consumed. 

There are many reasons why food is discarded. As household members, we see lots of food waste occurring in our homes and places we go to, such as schools, workplaces, and parks. But the bigger picture is more worrying, as the bulk of it occurs throughout the entire journey that food makes from the farms, through storage, processing, transport, market, and finally to our homes.

In terms of waste management, food waste is that kind of waste resulting from food that is thrown away. See other types of waste here

Food waste could be accidental or unintentional, and may also be intentional. 

If the food that is fit for consumption gets spilled during harvesting or transport, or goes bad in storage, or rot in the market, we call it food loss. They usually happen accidentally. 

On the other hand, if we go to the restaurant and heap our plates, eat a little, and throw the rest in the trash bin, that would be food waste. If we buy more food from the market than we need, due to bad planning, and see them rot in our homes instead of giving them away, that is waste too. If a restaurant throws away the rest of the food that was not purchased or eaten, that too is food waste.

Food waste and food loss both end up with the same result: food waste!

It is worth noting that food waste and food loss directly relate to the waste of money, time, energy, land, and many more resources.

In general terms, residue (by-products) from food crops and animal parts such as shells from shelled nuts, leaves of carrots and orange peels, beet leaves, and many roots, by-products from pork, are not considered food waste. They are called ‘inedible items‘. They may be used for producing animal feed and other pharmaceuticals. Food waste and food loss only include those intended for human consumption.