In countries with humid tropical climates and a less-developed infrastructure, fungal spoilage alone is responsible for an estimated 5-10% of all food loss (Pitt and Hocking 2009)
Food spoilage and Food waste
Close to one third of the world’s food supply is wasted annually. As a major contributor, food spoilage represents an environmental problem as well as an ethical issue. Besides physical damage, browning and staling, molds and yeasts cause significant food waste.
Why foods need protection
We have been preserving our foods for centuries using sugar, salt and acid or by heating or chilling them, for example. Protecting foods from spoilage is essential in order to reduce food waste and ensure safety for consumers, especially in humid and tropical climates.
- Approximately 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. This represents around one third of all food generated for human consumption (FAO 2011).
- Half of the fruit and vegetables harvested in the tropics are lost due to fungal spoilage (Pitt and Hocking 2009).
- This represents an economic loss: in Australia the cost of food losses related to fungal spoilage are estimated at $ 10,000,000 annually (Pitt and Hocking 2009).
- The appearance of molds is the number 1 cause why cheese/food is thrown away by consumers.
Natamycin and food waste
With more than 1.5 million different varieties of molds and yeasts, food spoilage remains a constant risk factor – during manufacturing, storage, transportation, in the supermarket and in the home of the consumer. The natural mold inhibitor Natamycin helps reduce food waste by protecting a wide variety of products and thereby extending shelf life. The application of Natamycin in yogurt, for example, has increased shelf life from two weeks to over 35 days. In the face of limited resources and on-going population growth, food security through preservation is becoming increasingly important with regard to feeding people around the world and keeping them healthy.