WWF South Africa’s new Food Loss and Waste: Facts and Futures report sketches a staggering state of food loss and waste in the country.
It said that fruits, vegetables and cereals together account for 70% of the wastage and loss. This primarily occurs early in the food-supply chain.
Research on food-waste flows at Enkanini in Stellenbosch showed that informal settlement households generate between 5.2kg and 9.6kg of food waste a week.
Although low-income groups are likely to consume less, food wastage in this category makes up a greater portion than those who are more affluent.
This may be due to improper storage facilities, WWF SA said.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has quantified the financial burden of food loss and waste in the country at R61.5 billion, or 2.1% of the national GDP.
Kate Hamilton, FoodForward SA's fund development manager, said our food wastage is on par with that of developed countries like the US, yet more than 14 million South Africans go hungry every day.
FoodForward SA collects edible surplus food from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers and redistributes it to over 600 NPOs.
“The impact of hunger in communities is something we don't talk about. People within the work environment are living without enough nutritious foods," Hamilton said.
“There are far-reaching implications."
JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for Safety and Security and Social Services, said that between April 2016 and March 2017, the City of Cape Town recorded that 926 children under the age of two, as well as 474 aged between two and five, were underweight, and 260 under the age of five suffered from severe malnutrition.