There are times when we give thanks for the blessings of a good harvest. There are also times when we store food to make sure we have enough to get through and ration resources. It is easy to get lost in local matters, but food consumption is a global need that everyone fulfills in some way.
Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day, which is roughly 200 billion more than needed. The extra calories would be enough to feed 80 million people.
World Food Consumption
The world is definitely divided into haves and have nots when it comes to food consumption. Those living in advanced, industrialized cultures are consuming more than ever before. In comparison, those who are living in developing nations are consuming less, though the total number of the chronically undernourished as been lowered by 200 million people in the last 20 years.
- To produce 1 pound of wheat, it takes an average of 25 gallons of water. To produce 1 pound of beef, it requires 5,200 gallons of water.
- Someone living in the industrialized world consumed 10x the energy of someone in the developing world.
- Africa is producing 27% less food today than it was in 1964.
- 99.9% of the pesticides that are used to improve yields don’t come into any contact with the pests they are designed to eliminate.
- 33% of the world’s seafood catch is actually given to livestock in the form of feed. The same amount is taken out of the world’s total grain output.
- 95%. That’s the percentage of the oats that are grown which are fed to livestock instead of people.
- The percentage of farmland in the US that is being used for beef production: 56%.
It is important to be mindful of all of our resources. Stopping the habit of overeating could solve 10% of the world’s hunger problem. When people don’t get enough food to eat, they will eventually die if that problem isn’t solved. An average of 10 million people per year succumb to hunger-related issues with their health every year. That puts the over-abundance celebrations for good yields and holidays into a deeper perspective, doesn’t it?
How Much Food Gets Wasted Before It Is Consumed?
- 25% of the food supply that is intended to be consumed is never eaten, being thrown away instead.
- When losses from the food production system are included in waste statistics, about one-third of the total food supply is never eaten every year.
- The value of the food that gets wasted annually: $1 trillion.
- Industrialized nations waste 222 million tons of food every year. In sub-Saharan Africa, the total food production is currently 230 million tons.
- Organic waste is the second most common component ins landfills.
- The average American wastes more than 20 pounds of food every month. For a family of 6, that’s more than half a ton of wasted food each year.
The goal of worldwide food consumption should be to eliminate as much waste as possible. Instead of throwing out leftovers, use them. Make a conscious effort to not let food items go to waste. No one is perfect and there will always be a forgotten meal, head of lettuce, or other items that don’t get used. Even if 50% of the waste would be trimmed, however, the savings would amount to $500 billion. To achieve that reduction, everyone needs to do their part.
What Can We Do To Create Change In Food Consumption?
- Americans eat the most food calories every year and they are fast food, low quality food calories.
- Europeans spend double their incomes on food, but that still just amounts to 14% of their total income.
- Even though Austria ranks #2 in calories consumed per person with just 10 fewer calories consumed per person, only 9% of the Austrian population is considered obese because of the differences in food quality.
In some nations, 80% of a household’s budget goes to food purchases and they’ll eat 85% less food than the top food consuming nations in the world. Imagine having to pay rent with just 20% of your budget remaining, have utilities, and all of the other luxuries of life… it would be difficult for many. Yet in the world food consumption statistics, that is a reality. Most people in the world work so they can eat and have a roof over their head – nothing more. Something to think about the next time you have leftovers on your plate.
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