Dr Liz Goodwin
Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste, World Resources Institute
Today, more than 800 million people are hungry around the world, while one-third of the food we produce is never consumed.
The Sustainable Development Goals have prioritised ending global hunger through Goal 2, and food loss and waste is addressed through Target 3 of Goal 12. But the issues are not so siloed, and we must look at both in tandem to solve either.
Some of those who are hungry in developed countried, for example, are also some of the many who waste food.
A lack of cooking skills means more food is wasted
I often surprise people when I talk about the fact that some of those who are hungry in developed countries, for example, are also some of the many who waste food. In the United Kingdom, many families struggle to afford their food bill. As with the general population, a decline in home cooking skills means they often rely on processed and prepared foods, which can cost more. And because many don’t understand how to make use of leftovers or are confused by date labels, food unnecessarily ends up thrown away.
Through simple steps like teaching people how to cook, we can help families stretch their food budgets while wasting less. I’m always inspired by a woman who was struggling to feed herself and her son, yet was able to reduce her food spending by 80% after a training course in cooking.
Ending hunger and reducing food loss and waste are economic challenges as much as they are moral ones. Smart policy must start by bringing together a range of leaders – political, religious, business and social – to look at the issues as complex and intertwined, but also as solvable.