Food Wastage


Food Wastage


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated the food wastage through the whole chain. The data demonstrated that 30 percent of global food loss occurs at the agricultural production and harvest stage, 6 percent at post-harvest, 3 percent at processing and packaging, 18 percent at retail and distribution, and 42 percent at consumption. Moreover, Ian Tisesx o made a statistic, and this study, including twenty-three countries, shows the food waste of selected countries in 2017. The United States took place at the top of the list with 90767.6 million kilograms per year, and Turkey was on the list with 13408.9 million kilograms per year in the fifth place. Unfortunately, these numbers are increasing day by day, and it causes environmental, economic, and nutritional problems. Reducing food waste is a critical issue that should be considered to sustain life and to minimize hunger.


Food wastage is uneaten and discarded food in the most basic definition. In the frame of this definition, the wastage term is including both food loss and food waste. What is the difference between food loss and food waste? We can divide the food chain into two parts. The first part comprises production, postharvest, processing and transportation steps, while the second part includes retail and consumer levels.

FAO defines that "food loss is a decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from food suppliers' decisions and actions in the food chain". Food loss can be happened because of damaged crops, poor crop planning, and lack of efficient farming technology. Also, some economic issues cause food loss due to price volatility, labor cost and availability and aesthetic standards and consumer preferences. The global population show an increase continuously, and it drives much more demand for food. Farmers mostly use fertilizer and chemical inputs to respond to this increase in demand. The increasing demand for food and the growing rate of food insecurity push us to find new solutions to reduce food wastage. Trying to utilize the whole crop produced could raise yield without increasing land or chemical input usage. If reducing food loss is placed near traditional goals such as improving farm income, the industry may pay more attention to reducing food loss. For this purpose, the distribution problem and finding a way to reduce the world hunger problem can also be considered.


"The decrease in the quantity and quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers" is the definition of the food waste published by FAO. In general, there is a linear relationship between food waste and the wealth of the nations. In other words, more food wastes are observed in the wealthier country. The industrial sector has the most significant volume of food waste, and it is made from food and beverage manufacturers and processors. On the other hand, the residential sector, including single-family and multi-family dwellings, has a sizable volume than restaurants in food waste production.

There are several reasons causing food waste. These reasons can be summarized as;


       Large portions in the restaurants,

       Discarded foods, either before or after it’s spoiled,

       Forgotten foods in a fridge,

       Foods on the supermarket shelves to exhibit rich product variety.


The Covid-19 pandemic disturbing worldwide in all aspects brought forward food security. Lockdown, closure of restaurants/cafes, restrictions on imports and exports, and less effective transport activities in the supply chain have altered the food industry. So, how the pandemic has affected the food industry? The four essential parts of food security; availability, access, utilization, and stability have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first part of the pandemic, we observed empty shelves in supermarkets since most people felt the fear of the lockdown. Although we are not aware of the danger about empty shelves due to fear of the moment, this situation we observed in supermarkets was an important step that triggered food waste. However, people had to reduce food waste in the second part of the pandemic. Lockdown unemployment has caused decreased income of the families while the price of food has increased.  Because of this reason, people have given more attention to reducing food waste. Although the pandemic has affected all over the world in a bad way, it has affected food waste in a good way.






Andrea Moran | September 29, 2. (2020, September 29). What is the difference between food loss and food waste? Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

Burlea-Schiopoiu, A., Ogarca, R., Barbu, C., Craciun, L., Baloi, I., & Mihai, L. (2021, February 10). The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on food Waste behaviour of young people. Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

Food loss: Why food stays on the farm or off the market. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2021, from,distribution%2C%20and%2042%20percent%20at

Johnson, L., Dunning, R., Bloom, J., Gunter, C., Boyette, M., & Creamer, N. (2018, June 21). Estimating on-farm food loss at the FIELD level: A methodology and Applied case study on a North CAROLINA FARM. Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

Tiseo, P., & 19, J. (2019, June 19). Food waste of selected countries worldwide 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

Wunsch, N. (2021, January 27). Food waste generated by sector u.s. 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2021, from