Leaders Gather at SAVE FOOD Congress 2014 to Discuss Innovative Ways to Reduce Global Food Loss and Waste Wed, May 7, 2014

Dusseldorf, 7 May 2014 - Leaders from business, government, civil society, research institutions and the United Nations gathered today at the SAVE FOOD Congress 2014 to discuss innovative strategies to reduce food loss and waste.

The first day of the two-day congress - co-organized by Interpack 2014, Messe Dusseldorf Group, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - has featured discussions on issues ranging from food packaging to the art of loss-free agriculture.

Naysan Sahba, Director of UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information, noted the daunting task the world faces if it is to feed the projected global population of 7 billion rising to nearly 10 billion by 2050.

"In the next few years, food consumption is expected to increase by around 30 per cent due to population growth, while the effects of climate change are expected to reduce agricultural yields by up to 5 per cent in some areas," said Mr. Sahba.

"We need to take immediate action to save food, improve livelihoods and conserve the environment. Solutions and opportunities exist. But we need to seize the moment and create the needed momentum," he added.

A key theme of discussion on day one of the congress was the Think.Eat.Save: Reduce Your Foodprint initiative which was launched by UNEP in January 2013 in support of FAO's SAVE FOOD Initiative and the UN Secretary General's Zero Hunger Challenge.

The Think.Eat.Save initiative aims to accelerate action and provide a global vision and information-sharing portal for the many and diverse initiatives currently underway around the world to transform the way producers and consumers use natural resources.

Worldwide, about one-third of all food produced - worth around USD 1 trillion - is lost or wasted in producing or consuming food. This loss occurs mostly at the production stages - harvesting, processing and distribution - while food waste typically takes place at the retailer and consumer end of the food-supply chain. Food wastage carries direct economic and environmental costs and depletes the natural resources base that underpins food production.

UNEP scientists agree that well-functioning ecosystems - in the form of healthy arable land, healthy soils, plentiful water and resilient fisheries - are essential to meeting the world's growing food needs. Improving ecosystem management and maximizing resource efficiency will not only increase the amount of food produced, but will also improve the state of the environment upon which food production is dependent.

The impact of progress towards smarter food production and consumption will be significant. According to the UNEP and World Resources Institute (WRI) Creating a Sustainable Food Future

report, cutting the rate of food loss and waste in half by 2050 would close the food gap by 20 per cent.

Experts are however calling for immediate and swift action. While food consumption is expected to increase sharply and climate change is set to reduce agricultural yields, the task of feeding a growing population may become insurmountable if food loss and waste is not reduced.


Food Loss refers to food that gets spilled, spoilt or otherwise lost, or incurs reduction of quality and value, before it reaches its final product stage. Food loss typically takes place at production, post-harvest, processing and distribution stages in the food supply chain.

Food Waste refers to food that completes the food supply chain up to a final product, of good quality and fit for consumption, but still doesn't get consumed because it is discarded, whether or not after it is left to spoil. Food waste typically, but not exclusively, takes place at retail and consumption stages in the food supply chain

For more information, please visit the SAVE FOOD Congress 2014 website

Contact: Melissa Gorelick, UNEP Information Officer, +254 20 762 3088/ +254 71 621 4041 melissa.gorelick@unep.org

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