World Food Safety Day is celebrated every year on 7 June. The day was established by the UN and aims to make people aware of the importance of controlled food intake and the possible causes for the opposite.
Every year, according to WHO estimates, more than 600 million people in the world fall ill from eating contaminated food, with one in ten people subsequently becoming infected.
In addition, deaths caused by food-borne diseases see 420.000 people a year. In all, there are 200 diseases caused by contaminated food, ranging from the most common such as dysentery to cancer.
In addition, there is another fundamental factor related to food: food waste. The international observatory Waste Watcher has investigated the behaviour and various lifestyles behind food waste; according to data from February 2021, the average Italian food waste is 595,3 g every 7 days.
Food waste in the world: the figures for 2022
As just mentioned, food waste in Italy rose to 595 grams per capita per week in 2021, compared to 528 grams in 2020.
The foods most thrown in the rubbish are fruit and vegetables, bread and tubers. Those who waste the most are singles: about 12%, compared to a family with children. In addition, medium-sized municipalities have slightly more waste than large towns.
As far as anti-waste strategies are concerned, only 41% of those surveyed tackle the root of the problem by choosing products with a long shelf life, while 36% organise their larder and fridge according to the expiry date of the food. A minority of 34% combat waste by preparing a weekly menu (data: Waste Watcher International).
Which country consumes the most food?
Out of a total of 172 countries, Australia is at the top of food consumption, with the highest average per capita consumption of kilojoules (a multiple of joules, a unit of measurement of energy and heat) 15,900 between 2006 and 2008; in the same period, the United States had a kilojoule consumption of 15,690.
The world's food consumption numbers see developed countries at the top, with developing countries following.
The lowest consumption figures include Eritrea, which consumed an average of 6.650 kilojoules per capita between 2006 and 2008, and Burundi, with 7.030 kilojoules.
The increase in global per capita calorie supply has increased over the last 50 years, with the most significant increase in Africa and Asia.
Inequality between countries remains very strong, the global food supply is not equitable (data: Waste Watcher International).
Food trends of 2022
With the New Year, food trends have also changed, updated and adapted to the new socio-cultural context of today's world. All this, however, with the positive consequence of food consumption that minimises waste and is more sustainable and conscious.
Let's take a look at 5 important innovations in the food sector in 2022.
- Ultra-urban agriculture: stems from the need to transform the urban environment into areas with more greenery, equipped with indoor spaces for growing food. The anti-waste strategy lies in using every available space to generate new life;
- Moringa: this is a tree that concentrates its nutrients in its leaves and is perfect for combating malnutrition. Moreover, it can withstand long periods of drought, leaving its beneficial power unchanged;
- Yuzu: is a Chinese citrus fruit that will become part of European cuisine in 2022. It has a sour flavour that can be substituted for grapefruit and lime for desserts, soups and creams;
- Hibiscus: Hibiscus flowers are rich in vitamin C and are used for infusions. They can also be used in creams and skin care products;
- Reducitarianism: this word stands for a type of diet that sees a reduction in the consumption of products of animal origin, in favour of safeguarding our planet. It makes room for the eating of food produced only on ethical and sustainable farms.
The main problem with food safety is that it is very often not considered as important as it should be. For this reason, it is crucial to make people aware that more attention should be paid to it in order to limit the resulting damage as much as possible.
Certainly, there is still a long way to go to reduce this phenomenon, but awareness is the first step towards a less harmful and damaging world.