Food waste and the cold chain
The book “Food Foolish” by J. M. Mandick and E. B. Schultz calls attention to the extraordinary social and environmental opportunities created by wasting less food and the central role of the cold chain in this context.
The recent book “Food Foolish” by J. M. Mandick and E. B. Schultz calls attention to the extraordinary social and environmental opportunities created by wasting less food and the central role of the cold chain in this context. We produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. However, one-third or more of the food we produce each year is either lost or wasted. Finally, over 800 million people are chronically hungry. Food waste also has a devastating impact on the environment. The embodied CO2 emissions in food waste alone represent 3.3 billion metric tons. If food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the world behind China and the USA. In this respect, the modern cold chain is an indispensable tool: only about 10% of perishable foods are refrigerated worldwide and transport refrigeration alone could avoid a quarter of food waste in developing countries. The cold chain is a phenomenon of the modern world, but only a fraction today of what it might someday become. Vegetables and fruits account for 40% of all food waste. Combined with meat, fish, seafood and dairy, the total is more than 50%. A cold chain created to protect fruits and vegetables can be deployed to preserve foods that comprise nearly ¾ of the entire food chain – the most nutritious foods on the planet. For example, India produces 28% of the world’s bananas yet represents just 0.3% of all internationally traded bananas. With an improved cold chain, the number of bananas exported could grow from 4,000 to 190,000 containers, providing an additional 95,000 jobs as many as 34,600 smallholder farms.