Defining food loss

Food loss
Many definitions of food loss exist, the majority of which includes terminologies that differ markedly, however, all of which are being used by various actors and stakeholders in the global food system.

In some cases the definitions are the same, however, different terms are used, or sometimes the terms are the same, but their meanings can slightly different (, 2015). It is important that throughout this analysis, these definitions are acknowledged and kept in mind. Food waste is a part of food loss, however, there are additional complexities such as the fact there is no sharp distinction on just where the jurisdiction resides (Morris, 2018).

A comprehensive defintion covers all points of the food chain and this is provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which defines food waste as wholesome edible material intended for human consumption, arising at any point in the food supply chain that is instead discarded, lost, degraded or consumed by pests (FAO, 1981, cited in Morris 2018). This comprehensive definition is well rounded and covers producer and consumption losses at smallholder level, which smallholders face in both cases.

Another definition in extension to that of the FAO is that of Stuart (2009) stating that food waste should also include edible material that is intentionally fed to animals or is a by-product of food processing diverted away from the human food chain (Papargyropoulou et al, 2014 cited in Morris, 2018).