With over 7 billion people in the world, and almost 1 billion of them lacking sufficient food or water, it’s no question why so many people are talking about food and water waste. Here, you can find some amazing food waste statistics that will definitely remind you of how important it is to preserve food and water—not just for us but also for the less fortunate and for future generations.
The Top 10 Most Incredible Food Waste Statistics
- In 2018, Singapore wasted approximately 763,000 tons of food on its own.
- Greece is the world’s lowest food-waste producer per capita.
- Approximately 4.4 million tons of the food thrown away in the UK is perfectly edible.
- Twice as much food is wasted worldwide compared to what’s been previously estimated.
- The US is considered to be the world’s largest food waste producer.
- When it comes to food waste in schools, statistics show the food wasted from school lunches costs the US as much as $1.2 billion every year.
- Every year, supermarkets and restaurants provide at least 400 million pounds of food.
- Around 150,000 tons of food are thrown away each day in the United States.
- 9 million people starve to death every year.
- Wasted food takes up around 1.4 billion hectares of agricultural area.
Food Waste Statistics by Country
Here, we’ll be looking at the countries with the most and the least food waste.
1. In 2018, Singapore wasted approximately 763,000 tons of food on its own.
(SG Food Rescue)
According to these food waste statistics, Singapore produced around 2,000 tons of food waste each day, on average. The food waste comes mostly from hotels, malls, markets, schools, and households. Only around 16% of Singapore’s food waste is recycled.
2. Greece is the world’s lowest food-waste producer per capita.
The Food Sustainability Index of 2017 shows that Greece produced an average of 44 kg of food waste per person and that it produces the least food waste in the world. According to global food waste statistics, the total national food waste in Greece is around 473,000 tons per year. Even better, the city of Heraklion, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will launch a smart food card that will track consumers’ habits and notify them of which food items they already have at home.
3. Although China produces 61 million tons of food waste each year, the country’s per capita food waste comes in second to Greece.
Even though China produces a lot of national food waste, when divided by the number of citizens, it happens to have one of the lowest food waste rates per capita—around 44 kg of food a year. This means that the average amount of food waste per household is likely low.
4. Approximately 4.4 million tons of the food thrown away in the UK is perfectly edible.
It’s estimated that around 10 million tons of food are wasted in the UK every year. The value of wasted food is over £20 billion ($26.2 billion) and is linked to more than 25 million tons of GHG emissions.
However, not all the wasted food is ready to be thrown away. Some world food waste stats show that more than 4.4 million tons of wasted food are actually perfectly edible. Put another way, an average household is throwing away £470 worth of food each year ($615).
5. In South Africa, around 1.4 million tons of food is wasted each year.
This is around 15% of the total waste created by households in the country. This is a significant amount, although it isn’t as bad as the amount of food waste in the US. Food wastage costs around R21.7 billion (around $1.5 billion) per year.
6. Twice as much food is wasted worldwide compared to what’s been previously estimated.
According to global food waste stats, around a third of the food available for human consumption is wasted every year. This is double the amount of food waste previously estimated.
Researchers also found a connection between food waste and wealth, showing that wealthier people tend to waste more food than those who don’t have that much money. Studies also show that as people become wealthier, they tend to start wasting more food than before.
Food Waste Statistics in America
In this section, we’ll be focusing on food wastage in the United States.
7. The US is considered to be the world’s largest food waste producer.
The US food waste statistics show that in 2017, the US produced around 40 million tons of food waste. Only 6% of the food waste was redirected from landfills and combustion facilities. The EPA’s approximation is that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other material we throw away. Studies also show that the per-capita amount of wasted food in America was around 613 lbs in 2017.
8. The food wasted from school lunches costs the US as much as $1.2 billion every year.
School lunch food waste statistics show that food waste made during school lunches costs around $1.2 billion. Compared to the total amount of wasted food every year in the US, around $218 billion, it’s no surprise this number goes unnoticed.
Many school systems started prioritizing the financial impact of feeding students, ignoring nutritional requirements. As a result, school lunches are often the wrong size and usually tasteless, thus leading to more waste. This results in a large number of cooked meals going to waste.
9. Every year, supermarkets and restaurants provide at least 400 million pounds of food.
About a third of that gets thrown away. Consumers demand full shelves and fresh products. Despite efforts to make everything seem perfect, supermarket food waste statistics show that around 10% of food in grocery stores is never even purchased. Studies have shown that 30% of the grocery store’s trash is food waste, which mostly includes fruits and vegetables.
10. Innovation plays a major role when it comes to reducing food wastage.
Various American food waste statistics confirm that innovation will lead to global improvements in how we reduce, recover, and recycle food. It will not only be economically good for businesses, organizations, and households, but it will also improve overall economic development and increase job opportunities.
11. Around 150,000 tons of food are thrown away each day in the United States.
Further calculations into how much food is wasted per day found that Americans waste around a pound of food per person each day. As we saw in the previous stat, better planning could play a large role in minimizing food waste.
12. Vermont is the state in the US that wastes the most food.
(The Daily Meal)
This is according to food waste statistics by state. Other states that contribute to the most food waste are Maine, Hawaii, Alaska, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Consequences of Food Waste: Stats & Facts
Here, we’ll be exploring the various consequences of food wastage around the world.
13. 9 million people starve to death every year.
As we throw away more than a third of all the food we have every year, it seems impossible that more than 9 million people could die of hunger in the same period. However, studies have shown that the number of people who die from starvation is greater than the number of people who die from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The wasted food would be enough to feed the world’s hungry four times over, according to restaurant, home, and grocery store food waste statistics.
14. Food waste that goes into landfills results in large amounts of methane gas.
(Move For Hunger)
Methane gas is a stronger greenhouse gas than C02. This is incredibly bad for the earth’s atmosphere and contributes to global warming and the negative effects of climate change.
15. Food waste causes a large amount of water to be wasted.
(Move For Hunger)
It’s believed that food waste is responsible for the usage of an amount of water that could fill Lake Geneva three times. One wasted kg of beef equals 50,000 liters of water that was used for no reason. Think of this in terms of the amount of food waste in America, and you’ll come to a huge amount.
16. Wasted food takes up around 1.4 billion hectares of agricultural area.
Around 30% of agricultural land globally is taken up by food that is produced and left uneaten. This is a large area that can’t be used for agricultural purposes.
To Sum Up
As you can see, the food waste statistics up to 2021 show some surprising and terrifying data that could potentially lead to the planet running out of food within the next 30 years.
Always keep in mind that there are people who don’t have the same opportunities we do, so we should always help when we see people in need. We should take care of our resources and avoid overusing water and over-buying food when we don’t need it. There are many ways to ensure that you don’t waste food. For example, you can use a meal delivery service that gives you the exact amount of everything that you need.
How much food is wasted in the US?
It’s estimated that 30%–40% of the country’s food supply is wasted each year. This is based on estimates from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, which say that around 31% of food waste comes from retail and consumer levels. The USDA has joined with the EPA with the shared goal of cutting food waste by 50% by 2030.
As for how much food is wasted in the US every year, it’s around $160 billion in food. According to the US Department of Agriculture, dairy products alone represent around $91 billion of this total.
(USDA, NY Times)
How much food is wasted in the world?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, around 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown out each year, which is around a third of all the food we grow. The amount of lost and wasted food costs around $2.6 trillion, which is enough to feed all the world’s hungry four times over.
How much food is wasted in school lunches?
Many schools in the US serve poor-quality food, which is often tasteless and prepared in notably large portion sizes. However, the amount of wasted food in school lunches often goes unnoticed, costing around $1.2 billion, according to food waste statistics.