Third of the world's food is never eaten - and it's increasing the cost of your weekly shop

Damning World Bank report criticises wasteful wealthy nations like UK and US

Environment Editor

A A A

A third of the food the world produces is never consumed, meaning that prices are being artificially inflated and resources wasted – but record harvests of wheat and maize are bringing some relief to struggling consumers by bringing prices down from their recent all-time high.

These are the findings in a damning new report from the World Bank, which chastises wealthy nations such as the UK and the US for throwing away far too much food and laments the woeful food handling and storage facilities in the developing world, which allows essential staples to perish.

“The amount of food wasted and lost globally is shameful,” said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.

“Millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night and yet millions of tons of food end up in trash cans or spoiled on the way to the market. We have to tackle this problem in every country in order to improve food security and end poverty,” he added.

The World Bank drew attention in its report to recent figures showing that the average UK household of four throws away £660 a year, while the US figure is even higher – at £960.

However, the World Bank reports that the average food staple has fallen by 11 per cent in the past year and is 18 per cent below its record in August 2012.

Much of the decline can be put down to record wheat and maize harvests – helped by good weather and falling fertiliser costs – which pushed down the price of those crops by 21 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.

Furthermore, the report expects prices to continue to decline in the short term, with fertiliser prices set to fall further and conditions for crops forecast to be favourable.

However, the report notes that food prices are still historically high and cautions that crops could still be hit. “Deteriorating weather concerns among major producers and exporters, especially those in Argentina, Australia and parts of China; higher oil prices and the effects of an increasingly anticipated release of public stockpiles in Thailand on export rice prices all constitute risks to monitor in the short term,” it said.

The report found that 56 per cent of the total food lost and wasted occurs in the developing country, most of it lost during the production, handling and storage phases. In the developed world, most of the waste relates to the “consumption” stage.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003