Could LED Lightbulbs Eliminate the Global Hunger Crisis?

Produce lights

Global attention to food waste has illuminated a major problem with the world’s food supply: more than 40 percent of the world’s food is ending up in landfills instead of being routed to people who desperately need it. Efforts are underway to decrease food waste—from the urban dumpster diver to international campaigns and policies—and a new discovery may help supermarkets reduce their massive amounts of wasted food. The answer is as simple as changing a light bulb. Literally. LED lights may keep food fresher, cites new research.

According to a post on, the more commonly used conventional lightbulbs that produce heat cause food to “sweat” inside packaging, and that leads to the massive food waste problem. But, switching to LED lights, which can also significantly reduce energy bills, may also help to keep food from going bad as fast as with conventional lightbulbs.

The Welsh firm Sedna LED suggested in a statement that LED lighting, which does not emit heat or any UV/IR rays, can be “placed in close vicinity to food for an enhanced aesthetic effect, but with no danger of premature food deterioration.”

Americans throw out close to 100 billion pounds of edible food each year. The USDA estimated (in 1996) that just 5 percent of what’s thrown out could feed approximately 4 million hungry people each day. Approximately one in seven Americans is currently food insecure.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.