It is estimated that roughly 1.3 billion tons of food that is produced for human consumption becomes food waste across the globe every year. In 2012, Kumar Venkat wrote in the Journal on Food System Dynamics that nearly “29% of annual (food) production” in the United States alone contributed to this avoidable waste. Not only are we throwing out perfectly good food, but we are also wasting other vital resources that it requires in order to produce this food, that doesn’t even make it to our plate. According to the World Water Resources Institute, roughly 45 trillion gallons of fresh water is used annually to produce food we will never even consume.
Not only is the food wasted along with the resources needed to make the food, but it turns out that the processes of breaking these foods down, once thrown out, requires energy and releases greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, further contributing to our planet’s emission crisis. This is why scientists have declared that eliminating food waste can be the third largest effort that we as humans can make towards healing the Earth’s climate.
Food is wasted throughout the many stages of production from “farm to fork.” There are situations where food is lost in production simply due to transportation and packing errors. There are other ways, however, in which the food industry blatantly chooses to discard perfectly healthy food simply because it does not meet the cosmetic standards of perfection. When foods are not chosen simply because they do not look "perfect" enough, it only worsens the food waste problem in America. It also means that farmers do not profit off of the food they worked hard to produce.
When produce is packed and shipped to grocery stores, it goes through a refrigeration process. This tends to kill any aroma that the produce would naturally give off, which is why Leonard Pallara a Farming Consultant from Organic Sage Consulting says, “the aesthetic properties of produce tend to be the biggest factor people take into account when grocery shopping.” Thus, most “ugly food” is discarded before it even makes it to the stores, which means less food for humans to eat and even greater levels of global emissions.
Here at Faves, we are using the technology of upcycling fruits and vegetables to fight this food waste issue. We are taking imperfect produce directly from the farm fields so they don't go to waste, and turning them into healthy hard candy! Not only are we finding a use for “ugly produce,” but our products contain many key micronutrients that only fruits and vegetables can provide, making them a healthy candy for kids and a great low-sugar candy for diabetics! Our healthy candy alternative is also low in calories, making it a great candy to eat when trying to lose weight. This is one small way that we are taking action to slow climate change while improving the nutrition of the food we have access to.