The world throws away a third of its food while millions go hungry

Roughly 14 percent of food produced each year is lost during distribution, while retailers and consumers end up wasting an additional 17 percent, meaning almost a third of food is wasted, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Addressing such inefficiencies and breaking the vicious cycle between food loss and waste and climate change, especially at a time when food prices are inflated, is a top priority on the eve of International Food Loss and Waste Awareness Day.

The FAO estimates that there are 3.1 billion people worldwide who do not have access to a healthy diet and some 828 million continue to go hungry.

How much food does Mexico waste?

In Mexico, a yearly waste of 94 kilos of food in each home is estimated; compared to 59 kilograms in the United States and 79 kilograms in Canada, according to the 2021 Food Waste Index of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Retailing is an area of ​​opportunity to reduce this problem, since in Mexico it is estimated that up to 50 percent of retailing is informal, that is, in open-air markets.

Food loss and waste also account for 8 to 10 percent of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), contributing to unstable climates and extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.

These changes have a negative impact on crop yields; reduce nutritional quality; cause disruptions in the supply chain, and threaten food security and nutrition.

Inflation in food prices

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said companies from Wal-Mart de México SAB to corn flour producer Maseca have agreed to freeze the prices of key goods at a specific level, extending a pact to curb food inflation.

The president said last Friday, September 23, that he met with the largest producers, distributors, and retailers in the country earlier this week to discuss the details of the price pact, which renews and deepens an agreement announced in May. Attendees included chicken, egg, beef, and tuna producers.

The move comes after inflation in Latin America’s second-largest economy spiked in August to the highest level in more than 20 years, reaching 8.76 percent in early September, even as some regional peers including Brazil, have started to record slow price increases.

The Mexican president last week invited the participants of the most recent inflation pact, which include retailers such as Organización Soriana and Grupo Comercial Chedraui, to present the plan to the press on October 3.

López Obrador argues that the agreement cannot be considered a price control because the companies will decide the prices for themselves.

In March, the Federal Executive and the private initiative began the application of the Pacic, with which it is sought that 24 products of the basic groceries such as oil, tuna, rice, milk, eggs, and tortillas, among others, do not increase, while the government reduces tariffs for imported products, among other actions.

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