This chapter contributes to the present debate on food loss and waste. Many international and nongovernmental organizations see reducing food loss and waste as a priority for reducing global hunger and resource waste. The aim of this chapter is threefold. First, it questions whether the definition and methodology used for estimating the actual magnitude of food loss and waste is based on sound economic reasoning. Second, it investigates whether the inference concerning the potential for reducing global hunger is valid. Third, it questions whether there is a moral problem compared to wastage of some other consumer goods or the use of them for luxury reasons.
The definition of food waste and loss is crucial for quantifying its magnitude – how much is wasted by humans, fed to animals, and distributed to food banks. The aggregation problem is not solved adequately. It is highly questionable to aggregate all food items independently on the content of calories in kilograms. One kilogram of bread contains fewer calories than one kilogram of meat. It is questionable to consider food as loss or waste if the cost of avoidance would be higher than the value for the reduced loss or waste. Moreover, what is the cost to the hungry population for transferring food waste?
Koester, U. (2017), "Food Loss and Waste as an Economic and Policy Problem
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