RCC Pope Francis-March 16, 2013D
The Roman Catholic Church's Pope Francis waves as he leaves the Paul VI hall after an audience with about 6,000 media types at the Vatican on Saturday. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Wasting food is similar to stealing from the poor, said Pope Francis in his weekly address on Wednesday, where he blamed today’s consumerist world for neglecting the needs of the underprivileged.

“Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times we are no longer able to give a just value,” the Pope was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry,” he said.

The Pope dedicated his weekly address in St Peter’s Square to the World Environment Day where he stressed on the perils of food wastage and how consumerism has dulled people’s moral outlook.

He noted that “some homeless people die of cold on the streets, it is not news. In contrast, a 10-point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy.”

The pontiff added that this “culture of waste” propagated by a materialistic world has made people insensitive to the needs of the poor, especially when a sizeable percentage of the world’s population suffers from hunger.

A United Nations study showed that more than 870 million people are affected by hunger and about 2 million suffer from nutritional deficiency while 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted or lost every year.

Since his election to the papacy in March, the Pope has been a strong advocate for the poor, urging the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to work for the needy. He believes this can be done by practicing greater austerity and bringing in several financial reforms.