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Source: IFAMA news release

Thirty to 50 percent of food produced globally is never consumed according to a new report - "Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not" - presented today at the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) 23rd Annual World Forum. This trend is especially concerning given the rapidly growing world population anticipated to reach 9.5 billion by 2075.

"By the end of the century, there could be as many as three billion extra people to feed," said Tim Fox, one of the report's authors and Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. "We must find ways to reduce food waste and loss so we can ensure a sustainable future for all."

In his presentation, Fox highlighted specific causes of food loss and the importance of employing technically sustainable solutions that conserve precious land, water, and energy sources required for food production.

In developing nations, inefficient harvesting and poor infrastructure result in mishandling and unsuitable storage of food, driving its loss. A large proportion of food harvested in these regions never reaches consumers.

In contrast, consumer behavior often leads to food waste in more developed, post-industrial countries. Supermarkets, for example, will frequently reject edible foods simply due to their "unmarketable" appearance and consumers tend to purchase more food than they consume.

"Although the causes of food waste and loss vary by country, the problem doesn't discriminate. The impact is everywhere. Ending practices that cause food waste and introducing more advanced farming and food handling methods could increase available food by 60 to 100 percent," said Fox.

"Doing this, would go a long way to helping meet the food needs of the anticipated 9.5 billion people by the end of the century," said Fox.

IFAMA World Forum attendees also learned more about McDonald's vision for partnerships to address sustainability and technology issues related to livestock and poultry production.

McDonald's Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Bob Langert; Frank Mitloehner, director of Livestock Air Quality Program at UC-Davis and chair of Lifecycle Assessment for the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization; and Joy Mench, a professor at UC-Davis, all discussed various aspects of sustainability and the value of partnerships to advances in animal agriculture.

In particular, McDonald's initiatives with UC-Davis are focused on animal welfare, food safety and environmental impacts.

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