Almost five mln tonnes of food wasted in Poland annually says minister

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Sixty percent of the five million tonnes of wasted food in Poland annually is directly attributable to consumers, the country’s agriculture minister indicated on Tuesday.

"The United Nations indicates that one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted, and in absolute numbers this is 1.3 billion tonnes," said Henryk Kowalczyk at a conference concerning an educational campaign to counteract food waste.

He presented results of Rationalisation and Reduction of Food Waste Programme whose aim was to examine how much food was wasted in Poland by consumers and the entire production chain and said it was the first research initiative of this type in Poland.

As an example, he cited that 153 kg of food was thrown into the garbage every second and that 92 kg of this total was thrown away by consumers.

The most "painful example", he added, was that every second Poles threw out 184 loaves of bread.

"Studies show that the foods wasted most often are bread, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products," Kowalczyk said and mentioned that this was related to different types of storage methods and the fact that consumers were over-buying food products.

"If we reduced food waste by at least half, this would be… about 10 percent of the entire food potential," he pointed out. "You can imagine how many people that food would feed, almost 1 billion people."