Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal” as Want to Read:
Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  401 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
With shortages, volatile prices and nearly one billion people hungry, the world has a food problem – or thinks it does. Farmers, manufacturers, supermarkets and consumers in North America and Europe discard up to half of their food – enough to feed all the world’s hungry at least three times over. Forests are destroyed and nearly one tenth of the West’s greenhouse gas ...more
Paperback, 451 pages
Published July 2nd 2009 by Penguin (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecology
What a shocker of a book.

Tristram Stuart is a fireball campaigner. He's a freegan, someone who is happy to forage for free food in supermarket dumpsters. But he is also fantastically able. In 2011 he fed 5,000 people in London on food that would otherwise have gone to waste, and in 2014 he did the same thing with 6000 people in Brussels. He wants us all to wake up to the amount of food we are wasting - as individuals, farmers, food manufacturers and retail outlets. Our wanton behaviour with food
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most captivating books I've read in a while—and it's not because of the writing. It's because the story is so astonishing. The sheer scale of waste, and the idea that we could reduce a lot of the pressure on the planet and feed the starving, simply by avoiding so much waste, is really appealing to me.

I thought I knew a lot about the food system and humanity's impacts on the planet, but none had made it clear how big of a contributor food waste is. Reading this book was like w
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
Having worked in food retail before I was very aware of the food waste problem going in, but quite possibly not the scale to which it was occurring. Tristram Stuart obviously has an agenda, and many of his stats are used for sensational purposed- especially as many of the stats were so broad they were essentially meaningless (what does 30%-90% actually mean?)

That being said I know I will be more aware of what I eat and buy. My lettuce is already in a jar of water in my fridge. I am now convince
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-star, non-fiction
I really fucking hate how Goodreads does not save my reviews if I spend too long writing them.

Shorter review: more substance! fewer unimaginable examples! (Quick, kids - draw me 275 tonnes of imperfect tomatoes rotting in the field!)
More guidance for the normal consumer! Less pretense that being a "fregan" is changing anything or is a viable choice for much of the world!
More focus on the human end of food waste (starvation)! Less focus on "gee, aren't corporations just awful"!

Also, the notes/bi
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Every day hundreds of people around the world go to sleep with empty stomachs. True to its name, the book uncovers the global food scandal and gives us an insight into the food waste at each and every process in the global food industry. The book also underlines the fact that our craving for over stocking food is cause of deforestation, global warming and climatic changes. The author will leave you feeling guilty about every morsel that you have ever left on your plate in the past. This book hig ...more
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Completely shocking book about the enormous amount of food that is thrown away, food that could have been consumed by the hungry (domestically or internationally), food that cost money and resources (the energy, water, time and additional money that went into planting, growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting it all) only to have it be thrown away.

The author covers how waste occurs at every step “from farm to fork”, how much of it occurs, who does the wasting, and why the was
My God!!! The sheer magnitude of the waste and its environmental impact is astounding!!! Makes me want to go into food systems work. From the supermarkets to the food manufacturers to the restaurants and consumers, so much waste all along the system. And every time food is thrown out, it's not just the food that's wasted, it's all the forests that were sacrificed for extra farm land, all the fossil fuels that were consumed to farm and transport the food, all the manpower, and other resources tha ...more
Mme LionHead
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was already quite aware of the scale of food waste and most of its associated economic and environmental problems before I read this book. Still, this is a very comprehensive, well-researched book on European food waste situations and food disposal policies as of 2008. Tristram Stuart’s passion for reducing food waste and raising awareness is evident through his actions and writing. I especially enjoy how in depth Stuart tackles food waste issues at different levels from personal to household, ...more
Chris Walker
After getting over the fact that the author ate from garbage bins for several years without any apparent ill effects, I found this book to be a well researched and heartfelt treatise against food waste. While the wealth of statistics was soporific at bedtime, I found enough of interest to push through to the end, although I skipped the comprehensive appendix. The book is written from a British perspective, but there are common issues in Australia. The author, being a former pig farmer, would lik ...more
Aleksandra Taranov
Stuart tackles the topic of food waste and makes a strong argument for its importance. I appreciate the way that he directly connects food waste to land use in other parts of the globe.

I also enjoyed his use of statistics and information on *why* the phenomenon happens. I was surprised that smaller stores waste more but unsurprised that people are actually terrible at determining how much they are wasting.

It was also good to read about the interaction between supermarkets and manufacturers and
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was somewhat aware of the topic, after having seen a German documentary/report and that, combined with this book, paints a grisly picture of how we deal with food.

Since i saw the before mentioned documentary, I wasn't disgusted by his freeganism. I can understand that some people have issues with that.

Back to the book. It clearly describes, based on facts and research, that a lot of food is simply wasted for no good reason. The author refrains from preaching but simply bombards you with data a
Mary Mimouna
Excellent, but one of the most disturbing books I've ever read.

I have never been one to waste food and have always been upset at others who did so. But I had NO IDEA of the amount of food wastage in the entire industry. In rich, industrialized countries, it is estimated that out of the total food harvested (counting wastage at every level of production), 60% never makes it to consumers' mouths. This is not just vegetable waste; millions of animals are killed and then WASTED each year. It made me
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I know this is a few years old now, buts it's still a great book to scare you into being a better consumer. Not least as all the things not working in 2009 still aren't working (I assume that doesn't count as a spoiler?!).
If you watched Hugh's war on waste you might well suspect the direction was lifted straight from this book, probably was, and just shows how next to nothing has changed.
It's a very easy read without dumbing anything down. If I can read it in two days it MUST be a page turner.
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stuart provides a straightforward message to decrease environmental impact an solve world hunger: waste less food. Similarly to 'Eating Animals', the thesis is both well-founded by numbers and interviews as well are personal. Very recommended for the ecological minded!
Juliet Wilson
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
This sobering insight into just how much food is wasted across the world is a must read for anyone who wants to do their bit to reduce food waste. The book is slightly out of date (2009) but many of the issues are still as urgent as when it was written.

It details how much food is wasted through the whole cycle from growing food through distributing it to retailers, the unsold food that is discarded by retailers and the food that is wasted by consumers. It also demonstrates how this waste puts pr
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is great and sad simultenously. It tells us a story about the way humans keep on ignoring the environmental and social problems, created by wasting food in enormous quantity.
The book is inspiring and motivating the reader to cut down on household waste. We shall start from our househols and families, but it is not enough. Societies need to put pressure on the companies, so that the changes take place throughout the whole supply chain. If we want to save the planet, stop wasting food i
Christine Kenney
Kudos to this author for dumpster diving, inventorying and living off their contents.
Chapter 18 on an action plan is a worthwhile. The preceding 17 chapters were repetitive but raised some interesting points. The claim I found least persuasive was that if the everyone has access to sufficient food, this will manifest in better environmental conservation. Wouldn't population growth once again leave some of us hungry?... but it is a comfort to know that there is slack everywhere in the food supp
I was not even able to bring myself to finish this. I agree...but I dont and again and again. Waste of my time? I dont know yet. ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, nonfiction
Waste was eye-opening in terms of how much food is wasted (primarily) in the developed world. The author takes us through the waste produced at every step of the process from farm to plate. He covers farming practices, harvest, processing, grocery store stocking, handling of overstock in restaurants and leftovers in family homes. One of the most shocking chapters is about fishing practices and how much sea life is destroyed in the pursuit of our most commonly eaten species. The author cites page ...more
Amanda Em
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich weiß ncht recht, ob 4 Sterne OK sind für dieses Buch. 3,5 wären besser. Einerseits ist es ein tolles Buch, eins das schockiert und Augen öffnet und es sollte eine Pflichlektüre werden. Aber ein wichtiger Fakt wurde hier vergessen: nicht alles, was auf diesem Planeten wächst oder rumläuft, wurde dazu bestimmt von den Menschen gegessen zu werden. Der Autor ist Fleischfresser und er denkt wie ein Fleischfresser. Und das ist hier das größte Problem. Fleischfresser denken, dass der Mensch über al ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am surprised this is such a wonderful book that no one reads..I never believe that we do not have enough food, simply we do not know how to eat efficiently...and recycle uses detailed data and objective point of view to point out the developed countries' waste of food per person..listing the ways of American, EU, Japan, you know what..(I add China) conclusion: America leading most democratic countries (which is not really)..individual and corporations are joining force ...more
Joshua Baringer
This book was a good book, but there are a lot of stats and graphs in it. This caused me to get lost from time to time, but the facts, when understood, were astounding. The book talked a lot of how other countries are trying to cut down on food waste, by eating the less appealing parts of animals. One of my favorite chapters talked about how people in china have stands next to the subways and sell boiled sheep lungs, and meat stuffed intestines. I would recommend this book to people who either c ...more
Anna Pitt
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eco
Being a researcher for my own books and talks on waste reduction, I've read many a book on this subject, but it is this book by Tristram Stuart that really made me pull my finger out and decide to do something about my concerns over the amount of waste, food and other, that we are a prepared to dismiss as 'normal' or even 'acceptable'.

It is probably 10 years or more since I have allowed any food waste from my home to go to landfill. But reading 'Waste'has made me consider even the small amount o
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book more than anything will encourage me to eat less meat, and to consider the source of my fish. It was an eye-opener how much grain is required for the production of meat; as was the amount of waste generated throughout the system. It is a little depressing and I am hopeful that in the five years since the book has been published, some progress on this front has been made. I have always (like many others) not liked to waste food. But now it feels a little more like a moral imperative. It ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an amazingly important book that needs to be read by everyone in the 'developed' world, at the very least so that they learn that using green bags to bring the groceries home and digging a vegetable patch in is not doing enough to help the environment. As the author says 'By throwing away food you are paying for: the wanton degradation of the environment, the starvation of people on the other side of the world, pollution in your local landfill site, unnecessary global warming, water depl ...more
Oct 03, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Off this review:

Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
By Tristram Stuart (W.W. Norton & Co.)
The global food crisis of 2008 revealed a system strained to its limits. But, as journalist Tristram Stuart argues in Waste, some of that strain is artificial. Farmers, manufacturers, restaurants, and consumers in the US and Europe discard between 30 and 50 percent of their food every year—enough to feed the world’s hungry three times over. Traveling from rubbish bins behind supermarkets to sushi c
Devin Wallace
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Piled as high as supermarket bins filled with good food, Waste is a must-read for anyone who is either unaware of the global food problem or has not recognized all of the causes of said crisis. I admit, wasn't fully aware of the scope of waste. As Stuart mentions, I was one of the many people who believed the problem stemmed from personal and household waste. However, as he documents, much of the waste is commited on extremely obscene levels from stores and large supermarkets. While dense on the ...more
Jenny Taylor
As other reviewers have noted, Waste is heavy with facts and figures, which causes it to read like a scientific paper at times. While the content is important, I found Jonathan Bloom's American Wasteland to be a much more readable book on the topic of food waste.
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, non-fiction, library
The first quarter of this book was five stars. I was fascinated and appalled and had trouble putting it down and not reading it in its entirety to my husband. The next three quarters were more three-star territory, sometimes dull, sometimes preachy, sometimes repetitive, all mixed in with some interesting, helpful stuff. On the whole it was a good book, and while I was already a pretty careful grocery planner it has made me think harder about not only what but where I want to make my food purcha ...more
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Tristram Stuart gives an insightful account of the incredible amounts of food that get wasted on a global scale. He backs his findings with a lot of statistical material and enriched his UK-focussed view with a chapter on Japan and South Korea. The important essence of this book is that everybody can do something about the waste: consumers, supermarkets, producers, fisheries and government. And since we all belong to at least one of these groups, we have the opportunity to contribute to reducing ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)
  • Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty
  • Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All
  • Free for All: Fixing School Food in America (California Studies in Food and Culture, 28)
  • Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System
  • Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola
  • Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment
  • Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice
  • Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat
  • Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity
  • Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back
  • The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food
  • The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of the World's Food Supply
  • Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America
  • The End of Food
  • Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics
  • Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilization
  • Food Politics
Tristram Stuart is the winner of the international environmental award, The Sophie Prize 2011, for his fight against food waste. Following the critical success of Tristram’s first book, The Bloodless Revolution (2006), ‘a genuinely revelatory contribution to the history of human ideas’, Tristram has become a renowned campaigner, working in several countries to help improve the environmental and so ...more
More about Tristram Stuart

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court
    $11.99 $4.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Johnny Cash: The Life
    $12.99 $3.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99