Knowledge for better food systems

Global food losses and food waste: Extent, causes and prevention

This report (Gustavsson J, Cederberg C, Sonesson U, van Otterdijk R and Meybeck A (2011) FAO, Rome) examines food waste in the industrialised world and the developing world. It finds that:
  • Per capita, much more food is wasted in the industrialised world than in developing countries. Per capita food waste in Europe and North-America is 95-115 kg/year, while this figure in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia is only 6-11 kg/year.
This report (Gustavsson J, Cederberg C, Sonesson U, van Otterdijk R and Meybeck A (2011) FAO, Rome) examines food waste in the industrialised world and the developing world. It finds that:
  • Per capita, much more food is wasted in the industrialised world than in developing countries. Per capita food waste in Europe and North-America is 95-115 kg/year, while this figure in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia is only 6-11 kg/year.
  • The causes of food losses and waste in low-income countries are mainly connected to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage and cooling A reduction in food losses could improve food security and livelihoods.
  • Food supply chains in developing countries need to be strengthened by encouraging
  • small farmers to organize and to diversify and upscale their production and marketing. Investments in infrastructure, transportation, food industries and packaging industries are also required. Both the public and private sectors have a role to play
  • The causes of food losses and waste in medium/high-income countries mainly relate to consumer behaviour and lack of coordination between different actors in the supply chain. Farmer-buyer sales agreements may contribute to quantities of farm crops being wasted. Food can be wasted due to quality standards, which reject food items not perfect in shape or appearance.
  • At the consumer level, insufficient purchase planning and expiring ‘best-before-dates’ also cause large amounts of waste, in combination with the careless attitude of those consumers who can afford to waste food.
  • Food waste in industrialized countries can be reduced by raising awareness among food industries, retailers and consumers. There is a need to find good and beneficial use for safe food that is presently thrown away.
  • There are major data gaps in the knowledge of global food loss and waste. Furtherresearch in the area is urgent.
foodwaste-graph.png
 

Add comment

Member input

Plain text

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.