Food Waste Index Report

News: The Food Waste Index Report 2021 was recently released by the UNEP.

Significance of preventing food wastage:

  • Food waste also has a substantial environmental, social and economic impact.
  • Food loss and waste cause about $940 billion per year in economic losses. Reductions can save money for farmers, companies, and households. For example, 8-10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed.
  • Reducing food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money.

Food Waste Index

  • The Food Waste Index is released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partner organisation WRAP.
  • It measures tons of wasted food per capita, considering a mixed stream of products from processing through to consumption.
  • It was prepared by using data from 54 countries and then extrapolated to the remaining countries.
  • Contrary to belief, the study by the UNEP revealed that food waste was a global problem and not that of just the developed world.

Findings:

  • This report estimates that around 931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019.
  • 61% of which came from households, 26% from food service and 13% from retail.
  • Food waste generation is found to be equally relevant across all income countries such as high, upper‑middle and lower‑middle income countries.
  • Developed Countries like Austria produce very low amounts of waste at 39 kg/capita/year. On the other hand, countries like Nigeria are producing waste at 189 kg/capita/year. For India, the waste in kg/capita/year was 50.
  • This diverges from earlier narratives concentrating consumer food waste in developed countries, and food production, storage and transportation losses in developing countries. Global food waste data availability is currently low, and measurement approaches have been highly variable.

Data on India

  • The report notes that food waste at the consumer level happens in almost every country, regardless of income level.
  • In South Asia, while 50 kilograms of food is wasted per person each year at the household level in India.
  • Others include- 65 kilograms of this happening in Bangladesh, 74 kilograms in Pakistan, 76 kilograms in Sri Lanka, 79 kilograms in Nepal and 82 kilograms in Afghanistan.