Saving Food - Chapter 1: Introduction to global food losses and food waste

Elsevier, Saving Food, Production, Supply Chain, Food Waste, and Food Consumption, 2019, pages 1-31
Li Xue and Gang Liu

Food losses and food waste (FLW) have attracted much attention in the world recently and become a priority in the global and national political agenda (e.g., United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Target 12.3). Better understanding of the availability and quality of global FLW data is important for benchmarking reduction goals, environmental impacts analysis, and informing mitigation measures. In the past few years, there has been more and more literature on FLW quantification. However, these studies still suffer from some gaps, such as data deficiency, a narrow coverage of time, geography, and food supply chain. In this chapter, the FLW data for 84 countries and 52 individual years during 1933 and 2014 in 202 publications were examined. The results show that most existing studies are carried out in a few industrialized countries, such as the United Kingdom and United States, and more than half of them only depend on the secondary data, which indicates high uncertainties in the current global FLW database. The available data also show that per capita food waste generated from households rose with the increase of per capita gross domestic product. More consistent, deep, and direct measurement-based studies are urgently needed, especially for emerging countries, to better inform policy making and mitigation strategies on the environmental impacts.