In September, the Obama administration announced a target to reduce food waste in the U.S. by 50% by 2030. In December, U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree tabled a bill, the Food Recovery Act, which aims to squeeze food waste out of the supply chain from field to fork. In January, the Rockefeller Foundation nudged food waste onto the agenda at the Davos Summit of the World Economic Forum and France banned the disposal of edible food by large retailers. In March, a strong majority in the Italian parliament voted for similar legislation.
Food waste is suddenly on the agenda worldwide – but why? It is three years, since the United Nations measured the environmental footprint of food wastage and revealed that about a third of all food produced is either wasted or lost. And for a while there was little political response, though many of us knew this appalling estimate was credible, having suspected for years that our “take-make-waste” economies – and personal food-purchasing habits – were less than efficient.