Looks like our obsession with pretty strawberries might be a bigger problem than expected; a new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that of the 4.4 billion tons of food the world produces each year, somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent gets lost before reaching a human mouth.
The report, titled "Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not," says that in the U.K. alone, 30 percent of vegetable crops are thrown away because they're not up to consumers' physical standards.
In Europe and the U.S., about half of purchased food gets thrown away after being bought.
This amount of waste is shocking not only in light of the world's growing population (the UN estimates that by 2075, the world's population will increase by 3 billion), but also in terms of the amount of water wasted. According to the report, we waste about 145 trillion gallons of water on crops that never reach a consumer.
"The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world's growing population — as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water, and energy resources that were used in the production, processing, and distribution of this food," Dr. Tim Fox of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said.
The report suggests that governments in developed nations start implementing policies to discourage retailers from rejecting food based on appearance, and start investing in engineering programs to improve food production processes.