McDonald's Set To Lose More Than $100 Million Worth Of Food. Here's Why

Food waste is a major problem across the world. According to NRDC, 40% of food across America never gets eaten and makes its way to landfills and dumpsters. The UN reports that 930 million tons of food went to waste back in 2019, and 17% of all food across the world gets dumped into landfills. This wastage also massively contributes to global warming via greenhouse emissions and the problem presents such a threat that the UN has earmarked food waste as an issue that needs some substantive resolution by 2030.

Contributing to this problem, some businesses waste more food than others. Costco, Publix, and Trader Joe's do a worse-than-average job when it comes to dealing with food waste and loss, and as of 2019, the chains earned D ratings when it came to their sustainable business practices (via Center for Biological Diversity). And now, fast food behemoth McDonald's now seems poised to join the ranks of these other establishments due to throwing away millions of dollars worth of food over a current ongoing geopolitical crisis.

Why McDonald's has to waste so much food

According to Insider, McDonald's has so far lost $127 million worth of food as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, closing 108 of its restaurants in Ukraine and the majority of its 850 locations in Russia, while continuing to pay staff. In addition to paying its former workers located in Eastern Europe, the fast food company has lost millions of dollars worth of inventory, and the cost hit has notably affected the chain's bottom financial line.

When social media discovered that McDonald's had lost and disposed of inventory, many online were quick to express their anger and frustration. Indy100 reports that a number of people took to Twitter to complain about how McDonald's should have donated the food to the Ukrainian people, but this loss only represents the tip of the iceberg. Climate Home News found that the Russia-Ukraine war highlighted how delicate the food supply chain actually is, and how the conflict has brought on a new food crisis. Experts warn that if the issue isn't addressed, more people across the world will face malnutrition and food insecurity. McDonald's staggering wasted inventory can potentially help put this grave issue into perspective.