Study reveals which countries produce the most food waste

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We’ve known for a long time just how impactful the detrimental effects of food waste can be on our planet. But are we truly aware of the extent of the waste we produce? Using data from the UNEP Food Waste Index Report, Bosch has conducted a study, highlighting the world’s largest 99 exporters responsible for producing the most food waste. 

On average, an incredible one third of the food that’s produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year. This amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes! 

But it isn’t just the environmental impact we need to think about, there are wider ethical as well as financial implications of concern. And thankfully nowadays, people across the planet are becoming more conscious with purchase choices, avoiding buying unnecessarily and thus adding to the food waste problem. There are also many charities and major organisations that are developing innovative ideas to evolve our relationship with food; leading with new technologies and changes in the law to shrink the environmental impact of food waste. 

Looking at figures from the latest UNEP Food Waste Index Report, we can understand a bit more about globally where food waste is at its worst. The Index Report focuses on the largest 99 exporters who are typically responsible for producing the most food waste. 

China is at the top of the list, producing 179 million tonnes per year. In second place is India with 128 million tonnes and thirdly, the US with 45 million tonnes. The UK ranks 21st with around 6.5 million tonnes of food waste produced each year. At the tail end of the Index is Slovenia and Trinidad and Tobago; being the most resourceful, they waste just 126,758 and 156,662 tonnes of food each year. 

Household, food service and retail food waste

Naturally, we need to look at our own practises at home and how we as individual families can start to reduce the amount of food we waste. Statistically, the largest amount of household food waste on a per capita scale comes from Greece, producing 1,483,996 tonnes per year. This equates to 141kg per capita.  

And with regards to the food service and retail industries, Malaysia are the top contributors with 89.56kg and 141.69kg per capita respectively.

At the other end of the scale, Russia has come out as the most resourceful in terms of household statistics, creating just 33kg of waste per capita. Whilst in the food service industry, Bangladesh produces the least waste, with just 3.34kg per capita. New Zealand wastes the least in retail, with just over 3kg of waste per capita.  

So what do you? We’d love to hear your tales of food waste and some of the ideas you have of ensuring the amount thrown away within your household is at a minimum.

Alice Soule
Alice Soule
Alice Soule is a Writer and Editor, and graduated with a BA in Social Policy. She is passionate about veganism and animal rights but equally has a love of sports, reading, and drinking tea. Alice is a perpetual dreamer and recently finished writing her first novel. As yet to be published...because she's already dreaming up the next story...