How Will the World Feed 9 Billion People by 2050?

Our global food system is facing a crisis. One-third of the world's available food either spoils or is thrown away before it ever reaches a plate, while 1.2 billion people go to bed hungry or undernourished.


1.3 billion tons of food is wasted or lost each year. This represents 340 pounds of food lost or wasted for every person on the planet.


Perfectly consumable food that either spoils or gets thrown away could feed 1.6 billion more people each year.


The retail value of lost and wasted food costs the global economy more than the combined 2015 profits of the Fortune 500.

Unconsumed food comes in two forms:


Waste occurs toward the back end of the food chain, where consumers buy too much and throw away excess food.


Loss occurs at the front of the food chain—when food rots in fields, or is lost as a result of poor transportation networks, or spoils in markets that lack proper storage and preservation equipment and practices.

What’s the Impact of
Post-Harvest Loss?

Post-harvest loss is particularly acute in less-industrialized countries where
it claims as much as 50% of fruits and vegetables.


As the world’s population grows and our available resources shrink, each pound of food
produced that goes uneaten is a wasted opportunity to improve the health of people, the
environment, and economies.

Scroll down to explore how post-harvest loss impacts people, our planet, and profits.


Reducing post-harvest loss strengthens livelihoods for farmers and families who depend on agriculture for their income. It can also ensure more food gets to more people.


If unsustainable food production trends continue, the world will require a 70 percent increase in agricultural yield by 2050.

With a global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, reducing inefficiencies associated with post-harvest loss will be critical to feeding the population of the future.


In Sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of staple foods are lost before making it to market. The environmental cost of producing all that food, for nothing, is staggering.


of fruits and


of cereals


of roots
and tubers

  • Carbon Emissions

    Unnecessary greenhouse gasses are generated both in the growing of lost food and also as it spoils.


    Food grown that never makes it to market wastes precious fresh water.

  • farmland

    Arable farmland is wasted and soils are degraded unnecessarily.


The economic development and global
competitiveness of agriculture-dependent
nations–and the livelihoods of farmers–suffer when
crops and food exports don’t make it to market.


In less-industrialized countries, 40% of losses occur before the food even hits the market. Losses often happen during
harvest, transport, and processing.


Recovering food lost at and immediately following harvest can boost the income of smallholder farmers by 15%, increasing prosperity and consumer spending in emerging economies.

Cutting food loss and waste achieves a triple bottom line: It strengthens livelihoods for farmers and families who depend on agriculture for their incomes; it cuts out inefficiencies and diversifies the supply chains for businesses; and it saves precious natural resources, reducing harm to our environment.

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