The United Nations reported in 2011 that approximately 1.3 billion tons of food are lost or wasted every year.
Wasted food is the byproduct of wealthy and developed nations, yet its ripple effects are felt half a world away from our doublewide refrigerators and overflowing landfills.
Over the past decade, the World Food Price Index has doubled and grain stocks have dropped to an alarming low as demand by the wealthy few has depleted supply for the impoverished many. Today, importing countries are buying large tracts of foreign agricultural land as a hedge against future shortages. Leading experts are beginning to pose some troubling questions: Will food become the breaking point for us as it was for so many civilizations in the past? Are more food riots, political instability, and mass migration around the corner?
Karim Chrobog looks at two developed countries that are on opposite ends of the spectrum: South Korea, now the world’s largest food recycler in response to tough new legislation implemented over the last years, and the United States, the largest food waster in the world.