Tag Archives: world

Do Germans Spend 20 Times More Than Chadians on Food?

Hungry Planet, a recent book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, presents the food consumption of households around the world. The results are presented in the form of a picture of the family and the food they ate in a week, just like this German family.

click the image to visit the website

In each case the total cost of the food is given (in this case $500) as well as demographics of the country and some information on favorite foods. Besides just being interesting and revealing eg this German Family drinks 4 bottles of wine in the week while the French family appears to drink only one, it gives a view of food culture an food processing.

Revealing and concerning is the difference between first and third world countries and in particular, Central African countries. The family from Chad spends only $2,50 on food, just a 20th of the German Family!

click the image to visit the website

This is quite startling, although the environmental impact is probably even more interesting given the almost complete lack of processed food, besides post harvest processing, and one way packaging in the food of the Chadian family. While the German family shows that in a week they used around sixty glass, plastic and board beverage containers.

Not much scope for a Food Processor in Chad!

The answer to the question in the title is that we can’t tell from these single images. However, we can be sure that the general differences highlighted are an indication of the food culture differences. We also know from the research on waste, that a significant fraction of the food (maybe a quarter) shown in the German home is probably wasted, while very little of that reaching the Chadian household is.



FAO Reports on Food Losses

Some years ago Food Processors worried about rural grain losses in the “development sector” and the high cost of effluent BODs in the Industrial sector. This was where waste was important to them and where it focussed action.


Now the FAO has commissioned a study “Global Food Losses and Food Waste” that brings a totally different view and confirms an understanding that has been developing over the years as food shortages and global warming become worries to the world.


 click the image to download the report


The overall conclusion is that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. The report then goes on into the detail of what losses are and how they are measured. It presents many graphs which a focus on illustrating where in the world and where in the vfood alue chain these losses occur – this is of course vital if anything is going to be done about it.


 click the image to download the report

The report discusses the causes and prevention of losses with a series of practical experiences.It concludes by identifying the limited data on which the report had to be based, especially as globalization and food logistics change. It finally, points out the different needs in the developing and developed countries and provides a large listing of references and additional reading.

FAO Conference on the Food Crisis

On the first reports I have seen it seems like the conference did not make tangible progress, although I guess this kind of conference never is.

Seems like

  • it was agreed that Food Production would have to solve the problem in the long term
  • a short term increase in funds for food aid would be necessary and
  • it was agreed biofuels gave rise to “challenges and opportunities” which need further investigation

Yahoo! what did that conference cost, what was the environmental impact and why was the issue not addressed at the GIAF held a few months before.

As you can see I’m not very impressed but will follow up and report back over the next few months.