The greatest tragedy of all is how avoidable all of this waste is. Much of the food that gets thrown out is discarded based solely on aesthetics, or other factors that don't have anything to do with the food's taste or quality. Some businesses have also taken it upon themselves to purchase and sell the foods that farmers and other businesses don't want, but they constantly find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of rejected foods. In fact, there's one ubiquitous food product that wouldn't exist if it weren't for so-called "food waste"—baby carrots are carved from "ugly" full-size carrots that wouldn't sell otherwise. So if we can get over our snobbiness for one piece of produce, maybe we can open our hearts to even more.
How bad is it? According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, if we managed to save just one quarter of the food that we waste, it would feed 870 million hungry people. Perhaps unsurprisingly, rich countries throw out nearly as much food as poor countries produce, and the most common foods that are thrown out prematurely or allowed to rot are fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers. That's why it's so important to get the most out of the food you buy, and to make sure you aren't buying more than you and your family can handle.