Global Food Waste Report 2024 Reveals Alarming Trends and Urgent Need for Action

Global Food Waste Report 2024 Reveals Alarming Trends and Urgent Need for Action

The Food Waste Index Report 2024, jointly authored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), provides insights into global food waste trends and their implications. Released ahead of the International Day of Zero Waste, the report sheds light on the magnitude of food waste, its distribution across different sectors, its environmental impact, and recommendations for addressing this pressing issue.

Global Food Waste Overview

  1. Magnitude of Food Waste
    • In 2022, over one billion meals were wasted daily worldwide.
    • Despite this, 783 million people faced hunger, and a third of humanity experienced food insecurity.
    • Total food waste generated was 1.05 billion tonnes, equivalent to 132 kilograms per capita and nearly one-fifth of all available food.
  2. Distribution of Food Waste
    • Household waste accounted for 60% of total food waste in 2022.
    • Food services were responsible for 28%.
    • Retail contributed 12% to the total food waste.

Challenges in Addressing Food Waste

  1. Data Infrastructure
    • Insufficient data infrastructure impedes tracking and monitoring of food waste.
    • Many low- and middle-income countries lack adequate systems for tracking progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.
    • Only four G-20 countries and the European Union have suitable food waste estimates for tracking progress to 2030.
  2. Perceptions and Realities
    • Food waste is not solely a ‘rich country problem’.
    • Average household food waste levels do not significantly differ across income categories.
    • Hotter countries tend to generate more food waste due to higher consumption of fresh foods and inadequate cold chains.
  3. Environmental Impact
    • Food loss and waste contribute 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, surpassing emissions from the aviation sector.
    • Significant biodiversity loss results from using a third of the world’s agricultural land for food loss and waste.
    • Economic toll amounts to $1 trillion.
  4. Regional Disparities
    • Urban areas tend to waste more food compared to rural areas.
    • Rural areas exhibit lower food waste due to diversion of food scraps to pets, livestock, and home composting.


  1. Government Action
    • Encourage governments to integrate food loss and waste reduction into their climate plans or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
    • Raise climate ambition by addressing food loss and waste in NDCs.

Definitions and Methodology

  1. Food Waste vs. Food Loss
    • Food Waste: Food and associated inedible parts removed from the human food supply chain.
    • Food Loss: Crop and livestock quantities that exit the production/supply chain before reaching the retail level.
  2. Food Waste Index
    • Tracks global and national generation of food and inedible parts wasted at retail and consumer levels.
    • UNEP serves as the custodian of the Food Waste Index.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does food loss and waste contribute annually?
    • A) 2-3%
    • B) 5-6%
    • C) 8-10%
    • D) 12-15%
    • Answer: C) 8-10%
  2. Which sector does food loss and waste emissions surpass in terms of greenhouse gas emissions?
    • A) Transportation
    • B) Manufacturing
    • C) Energy production
    • D) Aviation
    • Answer: D) Aviation
  3. What portion of the world’s agricultural land is utilized by food loss and waste?
    • A) One-fifth
    • B) One-fourth
    • C) One-third
    • D) One-half
    • Answer: C) One-third
  4. Which level of the food supply chain experiences the highest percentage of food waste?
    • A) Retail
    • B) Food services
    • C) Consumers (households)
    • D) Production
    • Answer: C) Consumers (households)
  5. What is the primary recommendation for governments regarding food loss and waste reduction?
    • A) Invest in cold chain infrastructure
    • B) Integrate food loss and waste reduction into climate plans
    • C) Increase subsidies for food production
    • D) Implement stricter regulations on food packaging
    • Answer: B) Integrate food loss and waste reduction into climate plans