The world discards nearly $1 trillion worth of food every year. It’s an astonishing statistic, and the vast majority of food spoilage happens after crops are harvested. Each year, a whopping 17% of the world’s crops are rendered inedible during storage and transit. Millions of tons of food spoils on the way from the farm to your home.
On this costly leg of the farm-to-table journey, substandard storage conditions and insect infestations are the leading causes of spoilage. While these production-to-retail spoilage problems are particularly prevalent in areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America, they aren’t unique to certain continents or countries. Food waste is also significant in developed countries, especially the U.S. and Europe: In fact, food losses and waste amount to roughly $680 billion in industrialized countries, compared to $310 billion in developing countries. The food-spoilage problem is a global epidemic that affects everything from grains to barley, cocoa beans to coffee beans, and corn to tobacco.
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has helped mitigate the problem of insufficient food storage by distributing tens of thousands of household metal silos throughout the world. However, insect infestation is a surprisingly complex puzzle to solve, and despite the many “solutions” that are currently being used, technology is now showing its true potential by attempting to finally solve the global food crisis.