Causes – Food Waste: Who Needs it Anyway?

Food loss and food waste occur at each level of the food production process.

The causes of food waste and food loss differ in developing countries and in developed countries.

Causes of Food Loss and Food Waste in Developing Countries:

  • Poor farmers harvest crops too early in response to a lack of food and money.
    • Food harvested too early cause loses in both economic and nutritional value.
  • Minimal farming technology such as plows, tractors, and pesticides.
  • Inadequate market systems.
    • Markets are often small, overcrowded, unsanitary, and lack proper cooling equipment.
  • Fresh produce, meat, and fish spoil in hot climates due to the lack of proper transportation.

 Causes of Food Loss and Food Waste in Developed Countries:

  • Farmers produce excess food out of anticipation of poor weather or pest attacks.
  • Supermarkets have appearance quality standards.
    • Edible food may be rejected by supermarkets due to crops not being favorable in terms of weight, size, or shape.
  • Supermarkets display large quantities of products that reach their sell-by date before being sold.
  • Bulk sized packaging in supermarkets.
  • Large portion meals in restaurants.
  • The attitude that disposing is cheaper than using or re-using.
  • Households buy more food than needed.



Bryce, Emma. “The Conundrum of Food Waste.” Green The Conundrum of Food Waste Comments. The New York Times, 25 Jan. 2013. Web. 06 Nov. 2014.

“Food Waste Harms Climate, Water, Land and Biodiversity – New FAO Report – UNEP.” Food Waste Harms Climate, Water, Land and Biodiversity – New FAO Report – UNEP. United Nations Environment Program, 11 Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Nov. 2014.

Gustavsson, Jenny, Christel Cederberg, Ulf Sonesson, Robert Van Otterdiijk, and Alexandre Meybeck. “Global Food Losses and Food Waste.” (n.d.): n. pag. FAO, 2011. Web. 6 Nov. 2014.




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