Food Wastage


In the current debate over poverty line and the minimum price of food, do we realize that the real sufferers are the poor who are unable to manage the minimum daily dietary intake. While India produces a lot of food, why is it not able to feed its own population?

Among other things, we need to realize a grim situation where we waste more than 400 kcal of food per person per day i.e. food enough to fulfill one-third of a person’s dietary intake. In terms of production, this means that almost 20% of the food being produced is thrown away.

To get a sense of how this wastage breaks up, see the following image -

Food Waste in India

While some of the reasons for this wastage can be controlled only in long term and by the industry (e.g. use of better technology for harvesting, protection of crops from pests, enhancements in logistics), there are some steps that can be taken immediately by consumers to control wastage -

  • Buy intelligently – Do not buy in excess or in quantity that cannot be consumed before expiry.
  • Buy local & fresh – For fresh vegetables, go for local produce over those which have been transported from a large distance.
  • Support non-mass brands – Mass brands tend to disqualify a lot of product over non-standard look and feel. However food produce, being a natural product, will always differ from one another. Support organic and small brands which understand nature’s way and produce products which do not necessarily look like a clone of each other.
  • Do not waste cooked food - Ensure that you cook intelligently and do not have to throw away anything after eating.

Remember that these and a lot of other small steps can help us save almost 20-30% of current food wastage.

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