Parents for generations have urged their finicky eaters to eat all of their lunch or dinner because there are always “kids starving in Africa.”

A new article shows this mentality may not be far from the truth.  

A recent article from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers reports that between 30 and 50 percent of all food never reaches the human stomach and instead is wasted. 

Considering that ag producers are already facing the daunting task of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, waste may be one of the biggest obstacles in reaching this goal.

“This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands,” the article states.

While developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom may employ efficient farming practices and improved transportation, storage and processing facilities, the modern consumer behavior in these developed nations leads to greater waste of food resources.  

Consumers may not be the only focus of the blame. Supermarket sales often urge shoppers to buy food – even perishable items – in bulk. As a result, up to 50 percent of what is purchased is thrown away.

Read, “Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not”  to find what could be the solution to this problem and what other issues are facing producers and consumers in feeding the growing global population.

The topic of food waste came up at a Future of Food Summit last June hosted by The Washington Post.

In developed and developing countries alike, about one-third of all food calories are wasted, Jason Clay, senior vice president of the World Wildlife Fund, told those attending the Food Summit.  In the developing countries, it is often due to insect pests, rodents, post-harvest loses, and sub-optimal transportation and storage. In the developed countries, a lot of it is due simply to people throwing food away, he said. Read “Wildlife rooting for ag to ‘get it right’ on hunger issue.”