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Interactive calculator reveals the true cost of the food we waste

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Britons bin £13bn worth of food a year according to Government’s latest stats. And in most developed countries, over half of all food waste takes place in the home.

PANDEMIC: Up to a third of the world's food is spoiled or thrown away before it gets to human plates

A British food-tech company has developed an interactive calculator that enables consumers to understand the true cost of the fruit and vegetables they discard.

It’s Fresh!, a firm which manufactures a filter that absorbs the ripening hormone ethylene to keep products fresh for longer, launched its food waste calculator to help people see the impact of their waste in terms of damage to the planet and cost to them personally.

Users can enter how often they buy fresh fruit and vegetables and estimate how much of this ends up in the bin. The interactive tool then calculates the environmental impact as well as financial cost to the consumer.

It’s Fresh! founder Simon Lee said: “We are proud to launch this calculator to help consumers understand more about the precious resources that go into the food we eat – and waste.

“When you throw food away you’re not just wasting the food itself, but all the time, energy, water, labour and materials used to grow, transport and store it.

“We hope that the calculator will bring this important issue to life for consumers, and help everyone better understand that when we waste food, we waste everything.”

Currently an area larger than China and 25 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply is used to grow food that is never eaten, according to the United Nations.

At the current rate, an additional 2.3bn people will be on the planet by 2050 – which will require a 60-70 per cent increase in global food production unless we dramatically reduce our food waste.

And food waste in the home costs the average UK household £700 per year, according to WRAP

Tessa Clarke, co-founder of food sharing app OLIO, who is supporting It’s Fresh! in its fight against food waste, said: “We believe that small actions can lead to big change.

“Collectively we can build a more sustainable future where our most precious resources are shared, not thrown away.

“The food waste calculator is a great way for all of us to get a better understanding of the implications of throwing away unwanted food.

“It’s easy to forget that little things add up and we’re now looking at a big problem that needs a collective effort to make real change.”

It’s Fresh! is harnessing technology to help reduce global food waste. It has developed a stamp-sized filter designed to absorb ethylene – the ripening hormone released by fruits and some vegetables. This filter can increase the shelf life of fruit & vegetables by up to four days and is already used in leading UK supermarkets including Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

It’s Fresh! is currently engaged in over 50 active trials across 20 countries, working to reduce supply chain waste. Earlier this year, the company conducted independent trials that can increase the transit life of bananas by 70 days.

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