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Food Waste: Broken Rice

Embedded in Numa's goal to reinstate the ancient diet is to improve the food system in all aspects, from its production to its distribution. And so, one major concern that keeps us up at night is food waste.

One cause for food waste that has received increasingly more attention from innovative food companies and the ever-changing food industry is ugly food - any foods that are deemed imperfect for sale - and rice is no exception to this issue. Imperfect grains are broken grains, grains that were snapped or modified during processing, and are deemed too unappealing to sell to consumers  in the majority of Asia.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), waste grains in Asia accounts for a significant portion of global food waste and has a large carbon footprint. Below is an excerpt from their 2013 Food Wastage Footprint Summary Report:

"Cereal wastage in Asia emerges as a significant environmental hotspot, with major impacts on carbon, blue water and arable land. The relative importance of rice is underlined, given its high carbon intensity, combined with high levels of wastage. While cereal wastage is similar in Ind.Asia and S&SE Asia,the overall carbon footprint is higher in the former, as more cereals are wasted at the consumption phase. However, higher yields for rice and wheat result in a lower water footprint and lower land occupation in Ind.Asia: less land is being used for the same level of production.This echoes a broadly recognizable global pattern: high efficiency and high consumer level waste in middle- and high-income regions versus lower production efficiency and lower consumer level waste in low-income regions."

There are already solutions cropping up to tackle this global issue, most of which are starting at the production phase and focused on re-purposing waste grains for either other food products or animal feed. Maltose, the main sweetener in Numa's milk chews, is a prime example of such as manufacturers now distill it from fermented waste grains in Asia. While we aim to help the movement to fight food waste as much as we can, it will take a much larger, concentrated effort to really budge it - what are your thoughts on how we can tackle this issue? 


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