By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.
Food Loss Index
The Sub-indicator for this target, The Food Loss Index (FLI) measures losses along the food supply chain starting from post-harvest losses on the farm up to but not including retail stage.
Reducing food loss and waste is critical to reduce production costs and increase the efficiency of the food system, improve food security and nutrition, and contribute towards environmental sustainability. According to the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report of 2019, the percentage of food lost after harvest on farm and at the transport, storage and processing stages stands at 13.8 per cent globally, amounting to at least 400 billion USD.
Data collection efforts are urgently needed in countries to target interventions at critical stages of the value chain and reduce food losses and waste.
Global and Regional Progress
Food Waste Index
The Food Waste Index, measures food waste at retail and consumer level (households and food service). UNEP is its custodian. In contrast to the Food Loss Index, the Food Waste Index measures total food waste (rather than loss or waste associated with specific commodities). The Food Waste Index allows countries to measure and report on food loss generated in manufacturing processes, which would not be captured under key commodity losses by the Food Loss Index.
According to the Food Waste Index Report 2021/WESR, in 2019 an estimated 931 million tons of food went into the waste bins of households, retailers, restaurants and other food services. This amounts to 17% of the total food available to consumers, twice previous estimates. At the same time, an estimated 690 million people, or 8.9 percent of the global population, were undernourished in the same year. Reducing food waste at retail, food service and household levels can provide multi-faceted benefits for climate action, food security and environmental protection. Moreover, according to the FAO, food wastage costs USD 1 trillion per year in economic costs, USD 700 billion in environmental costs, and USD 900 billion in social costs. This makes food waste reduction a key action area for economic efficiency and sustainable development.
The opportunities behind food waste reduction have remained largely untapped and under-exploited. This is in part due to a lack of data needed to identify challenges and plan action. The UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021 begins to address these data gaps by identifying of wide range of existing food waste data (152 food waste data points in 54 countries) and making estimations for countries without baselines through extrapolation. This constitutes Level 1 of the Food Waste Index approach.
The Food Waste Index Report provides a common methodology for countries to measure food waste and report progress on SDG 12.3, at two levels of granularity (Levels 2 and 3 in above diagram). Member States are invited to use this methodology to measure and report national data.