For a better understanding of the phenomenon of global food losses the FAO conducted two studies in 2011. One study deals with the causes and prevention measures of food losses in high- and middle income countries as well as for low-income countries. The aim of this study was the development of a uniform and comprehensive overview on food losses, their causes and possible solutions. For low-income countries special focus is put on the impact of food loss on food security, as the basis for the strategy and program development in FAO member countries. The study takes quality aspects (nutrient loss, deterioration of quality and safety) into account and works out the types of food losses that are caused on the way from the farm to the plate. As far as reliable information was available, the amount of losses was determined as well. In addition, the study presents the sources of food losses and possible solution approaches, including the role of packaging in the prevention process.
The second study examined how low-income countries can better use locally available packaging materials (imported or made from local materials) to package and preserve food and maintain the nutritional value. This study analyzes the investment potential for the food packaging industry and highlights appropriate packaging technologies for less developed countries. It reveals for important areas, how the competitiveness of small- and medium sized enterprises in food processing in low-income countries can be increased through the application of better, cheaper packaging and packaging technologies. These activities aim to provide the public and private sectors a better basis for planning, implementation and sustainable development of investment activities in the packaging industry for the agricultural sector and related industries.
The results of the studies were presented at the SAVE FOOD Congress in 2011 and used as a discussion paper for roundtables with key representatives of the supply chain in the food sector.