Global food wastage twice as bad as estimated thanks to rich people - study

We are likely wasting twice as much food as previously thought and it's thanks to rich people.

A team of Dutch researchers have found that food waste increases alongside wages, meaning the more money you earn, the more food you throw out.

By comparing food waste and consumer affluence, researchers from Wageninfen University and Research in the Netherlands found food waste escalates rapidly as people earn more before eventually tapering out as they reach peak affluence. 

The research published on Wednesday has also shown previous estimates of global food waste are vastly underestimating the scale of the issue.

In 2005 it was estimated food waste was about 214 kilocalories per day. However when income is factored in, it's thought around 527 kilocalories are wasted daily.

"[The research] provides a new globally comparable base against which one can measure progress on the international food waste target," said researchers in a statement on Wednesday.

"[It] suggests a threshold level of consumer affluence around which to launch intervention policies to prevent food waste from becoming a big problem."

The research is being celebrated by Kiwi scientists who say it's been a long time coming.

"This study is to be commended for taking into account how affluence is linked to waste, which has been notably absent from the literature to date," said Otago University Department of Food Science associate professor Miranda Mirosa.

"Immediate action by not just consumers but all food systems players is needed to reduce the unacceptably high levels of food currently being wasted."