More than one-third of all fruit and vegetables grown across Europe are discarded every year as they are deemed to be ‘too ugly to sell’, according to research conducted by the University of Edinburgh.
The study suggests that over 50 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables grown in the region are wasted every year, as the shape or the size of this produce does not meet strict government regulations or match the expectations from supermarkets or consumers about how the produce ‘should look’.
According to the study, the climate change impact of growing this wasted food is the equivalent to the carbon emissions of approximately 400,000 cars.
Professor David Reay of the School of GeoSciences at the Univesity of Edinburgh said: “The scale of food that is wasted when it is perfectly safe to eat is shocking at a time when one-tenth of the world’s population is perpetually underfed.”
However, researchers claimed that the growing awareness of climate and food waste issues combined with sustainable shopping habits could change the attitudes of consumers in the future.
Stephen Porter, a university teacher specialising in climate change at the School of GeoSciences added: “Encouraging people to be less picky about how their fruit and vegetables look could go a long way to cutting waste, reducing the impact of food production on the climate, and easing the food supply chain.”
Food waste is a growing issue for companies and consumers, and earlier today Full Harvest, a marketplace for excess produce that would otherwise go to waste, received $8.5 million in funding as it aims to tackle this issue.
Earlier this year, a collective of 25 Dutch companies, research institutes and government bodies including Rabobank and McDonald’s Netherlands launched a scheme which aims to cut food waste in the Netherlands in half by 2030.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019