New challenges in preventing and managing fresh fruit loss and waste
Food loss and waste is an issue of importance to global food security, as 690 million people were hungry or undernourished and three billion cannot afford a healthy diet. One third of all food produced, equal to 1.3 billion t, is lost or wasted every year, including about 45% of all fruit and vegetables. Food loss and waste is a major societal, economic, nutritional, and environmental challenge. This waste occurs along the entire food chain (from field to consumer) and need to be analyzed and monitored due to their impact on the development of the food sector. Reduction of food loss and waste is a target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, and the Farm to Fork Strategy of the European Green Deal. In addition, fresh fruit loss and waste prevention, and management are included among the 17 SDGs (targets 12.2 and 12.3), within Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), annually plant diseases cost the global economy around $220 billion. Fresh fruit and vegetables are highly perishable, and once harvested, they need to be handled using appropriate technologies to maintain their quality and prolong shelf life. A quantification of the amount of fresh fruit loss and waste is fundamental to the development of effective prevention and reduction strategies. The strategic management of technology and innovation will be delineated for high quality fresh fruit, thus improving the food supply chain, and at the same time, minimising the application of synthetic pesticides. Reducing fresh fruit loss and waste can help to decrease the pressure on food production systems, particularly within the context of threatened natural resources and climate change. Moreover, this is an important strategy for promoting more sustainable food systems and addressing global food insecurity.
Romanazzi, G. and Moumni, M. (2023). New challenges in preventing and managing fresh fruit loss and waste. Acta Hortic. 1363, 171-176
food and nutrition security, food systems, fresh fruit and vegetable waste quantification, natural resources, sustainability