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Food loss and waste is food that is not eaten. The causes of food waste or loss are numerous and occur throughout the food system, during production, processing, distribution, retail and food service sales, and consumption. Overall, about one-third of the world's food is thrown away. A 2021 metaanalysis that did not include food lost during production, by the United Nations Environment Programme found that food waste was a challenge in all countries at all levels of economic development. The analysis estimated that global food waste was 931 million tonnes of food waste (about 121 kg per capita) across three sectors: 61 per cent from households, 26 per cent from food service and 13 per cent from retail. The term "food waste" includes any cooked or uncooked, liquid or solid, abandoned or destined food for disposal  (FAO, 2019). Agricultural production (overproduction or unpredictable climate change), processing and storage after harvest, production (food waste and degradation at the time of preparation), store or merchandise distribution, and consumer use are the 5 types of food waste generated in the food supply, according to FAO (2019). Food waste is a serious global issue with significant social, economic, and environmental concerns Principato, Mattia, Di Leo, & Pratesi. (2021). The problem of food waste disposal is increased by a rise in household food waste, which is aggravated by the coming-up threat of the COVID-19 epidemic (ICA Press, 2020; Medical News, 2021).

In addition, the UNEP's first Food Waste Index research predicts that 931 million tons of food waste are generated annually by households, retail outlets, and the food service industry. Nearly 570 million tons of this trash is generated at home. The analysis also finds that the global average of 74 kg of food wasted per capita per year is strikingly similar across low-, middle-, and high-income countries, implying that most countries can improve.

Production of food, consumption of food, and food disposal are all intertwined, and they are at the foundation of many of the world's problems today (malnutrition, global warming, and biodiversity loss) (Krzywoszynska, 2011). According to a report published by the FAO in 2017, food insecurity grew by roughly 3% between 2014 and 2016. According to the same data, Africa had nearly four times the population of any other region in 2016, with 27.4 percent of the population classed as seriously food insecure. Malnutrition is increasing globally, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2017). Even though, over 2.2 billion people are on the verge of becoming impoverished or living in poverty. With a few suffering from acute food insecurity, (UNDP, 2014). Poor-quality diets are linked to one in every five fatalities. According to (Krzywoszynska 2011), quoting (Stuart 2009), we may make a significant contribution to environmental problems by "relieving the hunger of the world's hungry 23 times over or providing an additional 3 billion individuals, dietary needs must be met." Food loss and waste is a global issue with major economic, environmental, and societal implications, according to the meeting of G 20 Agricultural Chief Scientists. (MACS 2015). According to Herath and Fel t. (2016), universal food waste generates greenhouse gases of roughly 3.3 billion tonnes, which is comparable to wasting 250 km3 of water, and 1.4 billion hectares of land FAO (2013). This waste is nearly fifty times the size of Hungary's Lake Balaton (FAO, 2016).

In addition, according to a new United Nations report on food waste, Nigeria has the largest per capita food waste in Africa. According to the report, every Nigerian waste at least 189 kilograms of food every year, totaling 37.9 million (37,941,470) tons of food per year. The United Nations Environment Program and its British partner organization Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP) conduct a poll every two years, and the results suggest that Nigerians are unwilling to change their habits since they prefer their current lifestyle. Nigeria was rated as having’ medium confidence' in its commitment to kicking the habit in the research. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, over 82 million Nigerians live on less than $1 (N410) per day, putting the country's ranking in the UN food wastage index in a cruel balance (NBS). Rotimi Agunsoye, a Lagos lawmaker, had urged public awareness and sanctions against rich Nigerians who engaged in the practice in 2016. At the time, the reporter claimed, wealthier Nigerians were stockpiling food at home, while the poor continued to starve

Types of food being wasted

fruits and vegetables are among the most perishable crops grown in Nigeria, particularly in the north. Poor handling methods, on the other hand, have resulted in significant post-harvest losses of various agricultural products, as well as time and money spent. As a result, most farmers incur a significant economic loss because of a lack of understanding of the nature and causes of these losses, as well as effective preservation procedures, transportation, and marketing techniques. However, by employing appropriate cultural procedures, such as careful handling and packaging, this can be greatly decreased. Furthermore, by preserving fruit and vegetables from viruses and other environmental damage throughout the pre-and post-harvest stages, suitable chemicals can occasionally extend the shelf life of the food and make it available for a longer length of time. As a result, this research offers a technique for treating fruits and vegetables after harvest to minimize waste and maximize returns, thereby increasing availability and lowering the cost of the item.

Causes of food waste

ValueAccording to Hebrok and Boks (2017), food waste occurs in a variety of activities in everyday living, including purchasing, storage, cooking, and eating behaviors. Furthermore, because they affect daily routines, the material characteristics of food and the material structure in terms of living conditions, accessible storage facilities, access to stores, and the transportation mode have a substantial effect on food waste. Food waste occurs in homes because of how food is valued and certain contradictory values that individuals are trying to survive (Hebrok and Boks, 2017). Our attitudes and awareness are shaped by our extrinsic and intrinsic ideals, but so are our lifestyles and the conveniences we demand to handle daily life. Hebrok and Boks (2017) point out that there are a variety of material and structural factors that define and constrain human relationships with food, such as packaging and storage. To reduce the rate of food waste, people's artistic, social, norms and values, including material and structural aspects in the real world, must all be adopted at the same time (Hebrok and Boks, 2017).

Food Appearances.

Retailers' high "appearance quality criteria" for fresh products, according to an FAO report citing Stuart (2009), result in food waste. At the farm gate, some product is rejected by supermarkets as a result of tight quality criteria including weight, size, form, and appearance of crops. As a result, substantial amounts of crops are never harvested. Some farmers are contractually obligated to retailers, and most of their product is frequently discarded owing to unrealistic aesthetic criteria, several of them were mandated by the EU (Krzywoszynska, 2011). Although some abundant crops are been utilized as animal feed, food destined for human consumption may be diverted to other uses due to quality regulations (Stuart, 2009). According to the study, the idea that "disposing of is cheaper than consuming or recycling" adds to food waste in developed countries. Trimming is a standard practice on industrialized food processing lines to guarantee that the finished product is the correct shape and size. Not all trimmings are used for human consumption,  but they are usually discarded. Food is frequently thrown out through the preparation process owing to degradation later on. Processing errors result in finished products that are of the wrong weight, shape, or appearance, as well as broken packaging, all without jeopardizing the food's safety, flavor, or nutritional value. In a standardized production line, these commodities are frequently discarded (Stuart, 2009; Sapa, 2008).


Plenty of food manufacturing in developed countries.

According to Stuart (2009), supermarkets are accountable for most of the wasted food,  through in-store initiatives (for example overstocking) and the power they exert over other actors in the food supply chain, particularly farmers (Krzywoszynska, 2011). Food waste is created in industrialized countries by the presentation of enormous measures and a broad variety of commodities or products in supply outlets (for instance grocery stores). Retailers must order different types of food and labels from the same source to get the greatest prices. Customers also want businesses to offer a varied range of products. Having a big assortment of products, on the other hand, raises the danger of some of them being sold before their "sell-by" date, resulting in waste. When customers go shopping, they want stores to be well-stocked (FAO report). While this is helpful for sales, because supplies are regularly supplied, consumers may ignore food products that are soon to expire (Sapa, 2008).

Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior is the study of how a person or a group makes decisions while buying purchases to suit their requirements. Consumer purchasing behavior is influenced by a variety of factors. Income, status, education level, awareness, and status are examples of factors that can be influenced by external or internal influences. Understanding and predicting consumer behavior is critical. In an increasingly competitive environment, marketers and government authorities must understand their customers' demands to not just fulfill but surpass their expectations. This measure will boost investment returns, consumer retention, and economic growth. Modern consumer societies are based on a constant flow of consumption activity including short-term, replaceable resources and goods, which has normalized intrinsic wastefulness while eradicating traditional virtues of thrift and resourcefulness (O'Brien, 2007; Scanlan, 2005).

Food waste is a horrible global problem, with wealthy households responsible for most of it. A lot of research has been done on consumer waste in the previous ten years. Despite this, studies will make little progress because most of the work is cognitive. On the other hand, consumers are rejecting behavior modification programs aimed at raising awareness about the problem of food waste. A practice turn in consumer research has highlighted the benefits of investigating the boring, monotonous, and ordinary parts of life as an alternative option. We have increased our ability to reach the physical and chemical essence of food.

Lets join hands in mitigating food waste and food lost to achieve zero hunger worldwide.

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