What is food waste?

What is food waste?

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The simple definition of food waste is the food that is not consumed and therefore, has to be wasted somewhere else. There are different definitions of food waste from different organisations and state such as:


  • The United Nations defines food waste as removal of food from the food supply chain which is or was at some point fit for human consumption, or which has spoiled or expired, mainly caused by economic behaviour, poor stock management or neglect.


  • According to the European Union, food waste was described as ‘any food substance, raw or cooked, which is discarded, or intended or required to be discarded’.


  • Meanwhile, the United States sees food waste as ‘uneaten food and food preparation wastes from residences and commercial establishments such as grocery stores, restaurants, and produce stands, institutional cafeterias and kitchens, and industrial sources like employee lunchrooms.’


Food waste could cause serious damage, to the environment and the moral ethics behind it is not right. For instance, many people live in hunger and poverty, not being able to access food, while there are people that fortunate enough to have more than enough food every day, and somehow, managed to waste it. In other words, food waste is promoting inequality. This could be seen from a wider landscape, where one country has a very poor living condition and unable to provide food to the people, while in other countries, there are many surpluses that go to waste – and also could be seen from a smaller landscape when it happens in one particular country. In the UK for instance, even the UK is categorised as a developed country and relatively wealth, there are still many people unable to access food and live in hunger.


Fareshare, as a charity aimed at relieving food poverty and reducing food waste in the UK, has contributed towards more than 36.7 million meals in 2016/2017, which equates to feeding over 772,000 people a week.



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About FareShare North East

We fight hunger and tackle food waste across the North East. We supply 738,192 meals to people in need every year.

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