Comment: Professor Richard Tiffin on Tesco revealing it generated almost 30,000 tonnes of food waste in the first six months of 2013.
Release Date 21 October 2013
Professor Richard Tiffin, Director of the University of Reading's Centre for Food Security, said:
"While there is clearly scope to reduce food waste, we should not overestimate the gains that can be made. Claims last year that merely eliminating food waste will allow us to feed nine billion people by 2050 were irresponsible.
"It may be that a substantial component of food waste is unavoidable. All food has a long production cycle with an imprecise end so meeting the population's nutritional needs may need bigger tolerance margins than other, more precise, production systems. If your brussel sprouts mature two weeks before Christmas instead of the hoped-for two days, there may be no alternative than to waste them.
"Reducing food waste in more economically developed nations may allow a greater proportion of our food production to be used to feed the hungry in less developed countries. However it's the nutritional value and health impact of our diet, combined with the threat to crops posed by climate change, that is of greater concern for global food security."