Global food loss and waste estimates show increasing nutritional and environmental pressures

Alessandro Gatto*, Maksym Chepeliev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Accurate global food losses and waste (FLW) quantification remains challenging owing to limited harmonized global estimates, a lack of comprehensive quantification approaches and an absence of frameworks for addressing FLW challenges. Here we compile a country-level database that assesses FLW across global value chains and quantifies the nutritional and environmental impact of FLW for 121 countries and 20 composite regions. Between 2004 and 2014, FLW increased by a quarter, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where increasing nutritional losses of ~550 cal per capita per day impact food security. Growing food imports in high-income countries and fast-growing economies worsened FLW and related environmental footprints in exporting low-income regions. Reducing overconsumption and FLW in high-income countries may have positive effects in middle- and low-income countries, where food exports largely drive farm-level losses. Policies should focus on promoting the profitable reuse of unavoidable FLW while enhancing agricultural production efficiency to improve water use and nutritional security.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-147
JournalNature Food
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2024


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