Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Prajal Pradhan is a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). His main fields of scientific interest include food and nutrition security, sustainable agricultural, food system analysis, regional and urban food systems, sustainable transitions, ecosystem services, climate change impacts, and climate change adaptation. Prajal received a BE Agricultural Engineering from Tribhuwan University (2006), a MSc Environmental Management from Kiel University (2009), and a PhD in Geoecology from Potsdam University (2015). Scientific publications from Prajal induce studies on typical dietary patterns and dietary shifts, greenhouse gas emissions due to changing dietary habits, food waste and its environmental impacts, nourishment potential of regional and local food, etc. In Prajal’s view, the dual challenge of nourishing the growing population and at the mean time of achieving environmental sustainability can be addressed by applying food system approach that considers both food production and consumption aspects.
Currently, around 800 million people are living under hunger and undernourishment at the mean time more than 20% of the available food in the global market is wasted. While discarding food, we are not only wasting calories and nutrients that could potentially nourish others but also wasting resources used for food production and exerting additional environmental pressure (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions) in vain, which can be avoiding by saving food. In my view, these are the most relevant aspects of the food waste problem.
I do not think that there is not a single solution for this problem. However, actions need to be taken at different levels, staring from individuals to country and global, to address this problem. Changing consumer behavior towards reducing food waste will play a crucial role to make improvements in this area, mainly in developed country such as Germany.
Yes, we can see some positive development towards reducing food waste at different levels. At local level we can see initiatives like food sharing platform that redistribute the food from supermarkets in Germany to needed ones, which would be otherwise thrown away. On country scale, France has forbidden food waste from supermarkets in the last year. We have a SDG target, 12.3 to halve the global per capita food waste by 2030 on the global scale.
In my view, consumer awareness in very important to address the problem of food waste. Therefore, I would like to see institutional measures that will help to raise consumer awareness and encourage to change consumer behavior toward less/no food waste.
The activities of the SAVE FOOD initiative play an important role to fight against food loss and food waste, mainly by raising awareness and by providing platforms to discuss on the issues of food loss and waste. This is crucial because such discussion will help to create awareness and to lay foundation for concrete actions.