Where is food wasted?

Food is wasted everywhere around the world

Humanity is dependent on food to survive. Yet, in every corner of the world food is wasted for different reasons and in various, different circumstances. 


Developing Nations

Developing nations experience greater unintended post-harvest losses at the start of the value chain because of inadequate technology, transportation infrastructure, storage and cooling facilities, and more extreme weather conditions.

  • The developing world accounts for 44% of food waste and loss in the world (Lipinski et al., 2013)
  • In developing countries 40% of losses occur during harvest and processing level (FAO 2016)
  • Interventions within these systems focus on training and upgrading technical capacity to reduce losses, increase efficiency and reduce labour intensity of the technologies employed (Parfitt et al., 2010)


Developed Nations

Developed nations experience the greatest share of food waste towards the end of the value chain as food becomes abundant and consumers more picky, affluent and wasteful. 

  • 40% of losses happen at the retail or consumer level (FAO 2016)
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food - 222 million tonnes - as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa - 230 million tons (Gustavsson et al., 2011)
  • Per capita waste by consumers is between 95 - 115 kg a year in Europe and North America (Gustavsson et al., 2011)
  • 89 million tons are wasted in the EU each year (173 kg per capita) (Fusions, 2016)
  • The total share of food lost or wasted ranges from 15% to 25% across most regions. The one exception is North America and Oceania, where loss and waste is approximately 42% of all available food (Lipinski et al., 2013)


Country-specific statistics 

The numbers are simply staggering. Nations across the world waste an astonishing amount of food each and every year, particularly when looking at it on a 'per capita' basis.


North America

  • United States ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ- 126 million tons each year (415 kg per capita) (CEC, 2017)
  • Canada ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ- 11.2 million tons each year (303 kg per capita) (Second Harvest, 2019)
  • Mexico ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ- 20 million tons each year (155 kg per capita) (FAO, 2018)


European Union

  • Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ- 7.7 million tons each year (176 kg per capita) (Menos Desperdicio, 2019)
  • Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น- 7.8 million tons each year (130 kg per capita) (Eurostat, 2016)
  • United Kingdom ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง- 10.2 million tons each year (156 kg per capita) (WRAP, 2018)
  • Denmark ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ- 716.000 tons each year (124 kg per capita) (DTU, 2017)
  • Norway ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด- 385.000 tons each year (73 kg per capita) (Matvett, 2017)
  • France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท- 10 million tons each year (155 kg per capita) (Le Monde, 2018)
  • Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช- 11 million tons each year (137 kg per capita) (BMEL, 2019) 
  • The Netherlands ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ-  2.5 million tons each year (152 kg per capita) (Samen tegen Voedselverspilling, 2015)
  • Belgium ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช - 3.8 million tons each year (345 kg per capita) (Roels & Van Gijseghem, 2011)
  • Poland ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ - 9 million tons each year (236 kg per capita) (CEFO, 2017)
  • Switzerland ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ- 2.6 million tons each year (310 kg per capita) (BAFU, 2019)


Asia & Oceania