The physical mass of food produced for human consumption and the food lost and wasted in the food supply chain was quantified using available data, results from the global food waste literature.
Meat production in industrialized Asia was dominated by large pigs (about 46 million). ton) and chicken production (about 12 million tons). Meat production in Europe was dominated by pork (about 27 million tons), while in North America and Oceania it was more diversified, with chicken (18 million tons), beef (16 million tons), and pork (12 million tons).
In the developing regions, meat production in Latin America was dominated by the production of large cattle (about 15 million tons) and chicken (about 17 million tons). (9 million tons). Livestock production in sub-Saharan Africa was mainly cattle (about 4 million tons), and in North Africa, West and Central Asia it was mainly chicken production (about 4 million tons).
Around a third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption are lost or wasted globally, equivalent to about 1.3 billion tonnes per year. Food is wasted throughout the FSC, from primary agricultural production to final household consumption.
In high- and middle-income countries, food is largely wasted, they are thrown away even if they are still fit for human consumption. However, significant food losses and waste also occur early in the food supply chain. In low-income countries, food is wasted mainly at the beginning and middle stages of the food supply chain. Way less food is wasted at the consumer level.
Per capita, food loss in Europe and North America is 280,300 kg/year. In sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia, it is 120,170 kg/year. The total per capita production of edible parts of food for human consumption is about 900 kg/year in Europe and North America and 460 kg/year in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia.
The food wasted per capita by consumers in Europe and North America is 95 – 115 kg/year, while in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia this figure is only 6-11 kg/year. Food losses in developed countries are the same as in developing countries, but in developing countries, more than 40% of food losses occur at the post-harvest and processing levels, while in developed countries more than 40% of food losses occur at the post-harvest and processing levels in the retail and consumption level.
Food waste at the consumer level in developed countries (222 million tonnes) is almost as high as total net food production in sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).
Wheat is the MORE DOMINANT crop in high- and middle-income countries, and the consumption phase is the phase with the largest losses, between 40 and 50% of the total food waste of grains. In low-income regions, rice is the dominant crop, particularly in the densely populated regions of South and Southeast Asia. The potato (sweet potato in China) is the dominant crop in high- and middle-income countries.
The results show that the three middle- and high-income regions lose the largest amounts during agricultural production. This mainly depends on the post-harvest classification of the crop, due to the quality standards set by the retailers. However, food waste at the consumer level is also high.
Cassava is the predominant supply crop in SSA and LA, and potatoes are the predominant crop in North America, West Asia and Central Asia, and South and Southeast Asia. For these regions, agricultural production and after-harvest handling and storage are phases in the FSC with relatively high food losses in contrast to distribution and consumption levels. One reason for this is that fresh roots and tubers are perishable, making these products easily damaged during and after harvest, particularly in the hot and humid climates of many developing countries.
In the oilseeds and legumes group, sunflower seeds and rapeseed are the dominant crops in Europe, soybeans are the dominant crops in America, North and Oceania, and industrialized Asia.
Losses in all middle- and high-income regions are relatively large during agricultural production, contributing to waste percentages between 6 and 12% during harvest.
Peanut is a predominant oilseed crop in ASS; soybeans and olives in North America, West, and Central Asia; soybeans and coconuts in South and Southeast Asia and soybeans in Latin America. Losses in these regions are greatest in crop production and post-harvest handling and storage. The consumption levels are primarily consumed as Vegetable Oils, products that have relatively little wastage compared to fresh produce.
In the fruit and vegetable, losses in agricultural production dominate in the three industrial regions, mainly due to post-harvest sorting of fruit and vegetables caused by retail quality standards. Waste at the end of the FSC is also significant in all three regions, with 15-30% of bulk purchases being thrown away by consumers. Losses during the post-harvest and dispersal phases in developing countries are also significant, explained by the deterioration of crops in the hot and humid climates of many developing countries and by seasonality resulting in unsaleable surpluses.
For meat and meat products: Losses and waste in industrial regions are more serious at the end of the FSC, which is explained by high per capita meat consumption combined with large proportions of percent waste from retailers and consumers, particularly in Europe and the US.
Consumer-level waste accounts for about half of all meat loss and waste. Relatively low levels of waste during agricultural production and post-harvest handling and storage can be explained by the relatively low losses due to animal mortality during rearing and transport to slaughter.
Losses in all developing regions are not evenly distributed across the FSC, but the relatively high losses in agricultural production in SSA are notable. This is due to the high animal mortality caused by common diseases.
For the three industrial regions, the losses in the primary production of fish and shellfish are significant due to discarding rates in 9-15% of the sea catches. A large proportion of the fish and shellfish purchased is also wasted in consumer households.
In developing countries, primary production losses depend mainly on discard rates for 68% of sea catches. The high losses at the distribution level can be explained by the high level of spoilage that occurs during the distribution of fresh fish and shellfish.
For milk: Consumption waste accounts for about 40-65% of the total food waste in the three industrial regions. Losses in agricultural production are significant as diseases in dairy cows (mainly mastitis infections) lead to an increase in milk production. In all developing regions, milk wastage is relatively high during post-harvest handling and storage, and at distribution.