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What can we do?

The potential to provide so much more food by simply eliminating losses, while simultaneously freeing up land, energy and water resources for other uses, is an opportunity that should not be ignored.>>

Governments in developed nations can devise and implement policy that changes consumer expectations.These should also discourage retailers from wasteful practices that lead to the rejection of food on the basis of cosmetic characteristics, and losses in the home due to excessive purchasing by consumers. The claim that we need to double the amount of food produced by 2050 is thus unsubstantiated by the reality. Too much food is produced and consumed already in the developed world. The population growth is unlikely to escalate substantially in the so-called "Western countries", but rather in the developing world. There in the developing countries is the true need for the amazing biological and agro-technical advances that have been implemented so far in the developed world, which is where the vast majority of corporate effort is destined to be directed in the coming years. In some African countries three-fold increase in yields of cereal crops was achieved in just a few years by the introduction of high-yield varieties, together with the application of chemically engineered fertilizers and advancements in crop management techniques. But Africans and other third-world societies typically do not waste food at home and most food is lost due to pests, pathogens and poor transport infrastructure and storage conditions. If we can relieve these problems and probably the need to produce more will be automatically relegated. If the world population is projected to increase by about 35% to a peak of 9.5 billion in 2075, and eliminating this waste has the potential to provide >50% or more food for consumption, then in simple terms there is a clear opportunity to provide a major contribution towards meeting the growing demand for food in the 21st century merely through waste reduction and elimination. However, governments should not wait for food pricing to trigger action on this wasteful practice, but instead proactively pursue food policy initiatives that change consumer preferences, dissuade retailers from operating in this way, and lead to increases in the quantity of these 'defective' items in the retail markets.
Simply switching to a smaller plate could mean eating fewer calories, bringing with it important health benefits as well as potential waste reduction. Just as retailers can reduce losses at the farm level by being willing to purchase fruits and vegetables with variations in size, shape, or color, consumers can support more complete use of our fruit and vegetable resources by doing the same. Food can remain edible for longer when frozen, so freezing fresh produce and leftovers can save food that might otherwise not make it onto the dinner table before it goes bad. Uneaten meals can be saved as leftovers for later in the week or frozen and eaten later.

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