There may be a future for unwanted fruits and vegetables. Across
cultures, food waste is against the moral grain. However, globally we are
wasting more food more food than we consume due to superficial reason.
According to article we are wasting at least 20 percent of our fresh produce
and perhaps twice as much. To put this into perspective, National Geographic
estimates 33 percent of our planet’s food goes to waste, mostly because
of how the products looks. Which is enough food to feed two billion people. These produce are usually judged to be blemished,
and in this case “blemished” does not mean disfigured to the point of being
unfit to be consumed. It simply means the products might be too small, big, or
often funny-looking and not fitting the commercial standard of beauty. As a
result they are simply left in the field to rot, feed livestock or hauled
directly from the field to landfill.
Food waste is often overlooked as a major global environment
issues however it is becoming a huge burden adding to the total cost to the
society and economy, thus being a negative externality. According to the
Food and Agriculture Organization of UN’s report, environmental damages of food
waste is tremendous. The report estimate food waste causes 3.3 billion tons of
greenhouse gas each year, and food waste takes up 1.4 billion hectares of land
which is close to 30 percent of the world’s agricultural land, just to
highlight a few. Apart from the environmental impacts, the direct economic
consequences to producers of food wastages is estimated to be about $750
Currently there are small companies fighting food waste by creating
a market for fresh produce that are not perfect enough for supermarket
standards. Companies like Imperfect Produce and Hungry Harvest provides
services of importing fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farms and
delivering to customers at a cheaper price than grocery stores. However these
companies still face many challenges when competing in an oligopoly market
structure with huge companies such as Whole Food Market, Inc., and Metro Inc.
Grocery stores might view these smaller companies and their services as threat and
attract customers away from grocery stores. This is a possibility but the
social benefit outweighs the private cost, as there will be a market for people
who are willing to pay more for more aesthetically pleasing products. There
will also be a market for people who wants to pay less and won’t mind products
with flaws in its looks. Additionally, producers are able to increase their
revenue instead of seeing their produce going to waste.
The bad news is we are half of the problem but the good news is
that we are half of the solution as well. Food waste, besides wasting water and contributing
to the climate crisis, it also had a huge impact on the world’s economy. These
small companies is one of the many waste to help eliminate food waste and
hopefully provide a solution to solving world hunger.