There may be a futurefor unwanted fruits and vegetables. Across cultures, food waste is against themoral grain.
However, globally we are wasting more food more food than weconsume due to superficial reason. According to article we are wasting at least20 percent of our fresh produce and perhaps twice as much. To put this intoperspective, National Geographic estimates 33 percent of our planet’sfood goes to waste, mostly because of how the products looks. Which is enoughfood to feed two billion people. Theseproduce are usually judged to be blemished, and in this case “blemished” doesnot mean disfigured to the point of being unfit to be consumed. It simply meansthe products might be too small, big, or often funny-looking and not fittingthe commercial standard of beauty. As a result they are simply left in thefield to rot, feed livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill.
Food waste is often overlooked as a major global environmentissues however it is becoming a huge burden adding to the total cost to thesociety and economy, thus being a negative externality. According to theFood and Agriculture Organization of UN’s report, environmental damages of foodwaste is tremendous. The report estimate food waste causes 3.3 billion tons ofgreenhouse gas each year, and food waste takes up 1.4 billion hectares of landwhich is close to 30 percent of the world’s agricultural land, just tohighlight a few. Apart from the environmental impacts, the direct economicconsequences to producers of food wastages is estimated to be about $750billion annually. Currently there are small companies fighting food waste by creatinga market for fresh produce that are not perfect enough for supermarketstandards. Companies like Imperfect Produce and Hungry Harvest providesservices of importing fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farms anddelivering to customers at a cheaper price than grocery stores.
However thesecompanies still face many challenges when competing in an oligopoly marketstructure with huge companies such as Whole Food Market, Inc., and Metro Inc.Grocery stores might view these smaller companies and their services as threat andattract customers away from grocery stores. This is a possibility but thesocial benefit outweighs the private cost, as there will be a market for peoplewho are willing to pay more for more aesthetically pleasing products. Therewill also be a market for people who wants to pay less and won’t mind productswith flaws in its looks. Additionally, producers are able to increase theirrevenue instead of seeing their produce going to waste.
The bad news is we are half of the problem but the good news isthat we are half of the solution as well. Food waste, besides wasting water and contributingto the climate crisis, it also had a huge impact on the world’s economy. Thesesmall companies is one of the many waste to help eliminate food waste andhopefully provide a solution to solving world hunger.