Defining Food Waste, Loss & Surplus

There is a distinction between food loss, food waste and food surplus; these terms are often confused with one another

  • Food Waste: Food waste refers to food that is wasted or thrown away intentionally due to various reasons such as excess consumption (people buying or cooking more food that they can consume), or because food that has gone bad or rotten due to hoarding by consumers.

  • Food Loss: Food loss refers to the food that is lost through the supply chain right from the initial production down to the final consume. This may happen because of problems in harvesting, storing, packing, transport, infrastructure or market / price mechanisms.

  • Food Surplus: This refers to the overproduction of food and this food usually never reaches the end consumer as it is thrown away at the vendor level itself.

Why is Prevention of Food Waste Important?

  • 1.3 metric gigatons of edible food is wasted every year and at least 795 million people are undernourished worldwide. More than a third of all the food that’s produced on our planet never reaches a table.
  • Global food waste accounts for 6.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, directly leading to climate change.