Processing & Packaging

Food waste at processing and packaging

It is currently estimated that 160 million tons of food are wasted at the processing and packaging level globally each year. This means that 10% of all food wasted along the supply chain is lost at this stage alone. This represents an economic opportunity of $130 billion (BCG, 2018). Since food waste occurs for many different reasons across the supply chain, we decided to list the main causes at processing and packaging based on the literature, reports and others sources out there.


The main causes of food waste at this stage:

  • Quality standards and product specifications (elimination of substandard products)
  • Trimmings and byproducts during standardised processing
  • Lack of processing facilities and equipment
  • Belief that 'disposing is cheaper than reusing'
  • Product changes and machinery recalibration/ reinitialization


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