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Global share of wasted and lost food by category 2015

Food waste has become an immense issue worldwide as millions of people suffer from hunger, but the amount of food waste produced can easily feed those suffering twice over. Fresh produce is generally the most common type of food that is thrown out. For example, fruits and vegetables account for about 30 percent of the world’s food lost during production and processing and about 16 percent of food wasted by retailers and consumers. In many developing nations, food tends to be thrown out after harvest due to a lack of storage facilities, good transportation systems, or refrigeration. On the other hand, food tends to be thrown out in developed nations due to retailer oversupply or consumers allowing food to expire or ignoring leftovers. Confusion from ‘best before’ or ‘sell by dates’ and other food labels can lead people to throw away food before it has expired.

Food waste impacts the environment

Wasting food also contributes to wasting water, fertilizer, seeds, fuel, and land that is required to grow. For example, diverting and preventing food waste could save billions of gallons of water per year in the United States alone. In comparison to country emissions, food waste would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after just China and the United States.

Share of food loss and waste worldwide in 2015, by type

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Release date

March 2016



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Statistics on "Global waste generation"

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