Mostly because food waste is about more than taking only what you will eat, finishing what you have on your plate and using the contents of your fridge before they spoil.
Egypt, Tunisia, India, Nigeria and a clutch of other countries waste a lot of food and make real this dismal reality: that one in every nine people on the planet, or 795 million in all, goes to bed hungry.
They waste food in ways that are different from the rich world – with inefficient harvesting, inadequate storage and poor conservation. These matters are of particular interest as the UN debates 169 new development targets to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.
Eliminating hunger is obviously an aim – but how?
Bjorn Lomborg, , an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, who founded the Copenhagen Consensus Center think tank, says that 60 of the world’s leading economists estimate we could feed a billion more people at current food production levels if waste is redued even by half.
What does that mean?
Those crates of tomatoes being trucked into Cairo, raining some of the delicious goodness on to the road with every pothole or speed bump.
The mangoes that bounce along unprotected in vans into Port au Prince, bruising themselves along the way.
The fabulous Angeer peaches that Tunisia grows last for just the season and aren’t canned, made into jams and jellies to eat later, domestically or elsewhere.
It’s estimated that as much as 40 per cent of all the fruits, vegetables and food grains grown in India never make it to the market. They go to waste. Four years ago, India had just 20 grain silos, compared to Canada’s 400.
Food waste is as much about disciplined consumption by the rich world as it is about providing infrastructure in developing countries.
(Tomorrow: The farm to fork chain: How to feed the world in three crucial steps)