International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste


Reducing food losses and waste is essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and tons and tons of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day.

The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is an opportunity to call to action both the public (national or local authorities) and the private sector (businesses and individuals), to prioritise actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste towards restoring and building back better and resilient-ready, food systems. 

Read more and discover what you can do. Take action, start something. Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet.

Why is it important to reduce food loss and waste?

Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail).

Food loss and waste undermine the sustainability of our food systems. When food is loss or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food -, including water, land, energy, labour and capital - go to waste. In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills, leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Food loss and waste can also negatively impact food security and food availability, and contribute to increasing the cost of food.

Our food systems cannot be resilient if they are not sustainable. Hence the need to focus on the adoption of integrated approaches designed to reduce food loss and waste. Actions are required globally and locally to maximise the use of the food we produce. The introduction of technologies, innovative solutions (including e-commerce platforms for marketing, retractable mobile food processing systems), new ways of working and good practices to manage food quality and reduce food loss and waste are key to implementing this transformative change. 

With nine years left to reach SDG goal 12, target 12.3; there is an urgent need to accelerate action to reduce food loss and waste.

Key messages

  1. There is never room for food loss and waste!
  2. Reducing food loss and waste, provides a powerful means to strengthen the sustainability of our food systems and improve planetary health.
  3. Increasing the efficiency of our food systems and reducing food loss and waste, necessitates investment in innovation, technologies and infrastructure.
  4. Recovery and redistribution make good use of surplus food and contribute to improving access to food for the food insecure, preventing food waste and ensuring economic, environmental and social benefits.
  5. Diverting food waste to composting is better than sending it to a landfill, but preventing food from being wasted in the first place is an even better way to lessen the impact on the environment.
  6. Realising and maximising the positive impacts of reducing food loss and waste, requires good governance and human capital development, as well as collaboration and partnerships.

Did you know that 2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables ?

Respect food from farm to table 

Fruits and vegetables are worth more than their price. Maintaining their quality and assuring their safety across the supply chain, from production to consumption, reduces loss and waste and increases their availability for consumption. 

Innovate, cultivate, reduce food loss and waste 

Innovation, improved technologies and infrastructure are critical to increase efficiency and productivity in fruit and vegetable supply chains to reduce loss and waste. 

Data and measurement are key in creating a feedback loop to inform actions to reduce food loss and food waste and to monitor impacts.
Approximately 14 percent of the food produced for consumption globally each year is lost between harvest and the wholesale market.
An estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail).
Food that is lost and wasted accounts for 38 percent of total energy usage in the global food system.
Food-system emissions contributed up to 34 percent of total GHG emissions in 2015.
Packaging now contributes approximately 5.4 percent of global food-system emissions, more than any other supply-chain factor including transportation.

Call to action

Get Involved! 

Do you want to mark the observance of the IDAFLW 2021 with an event, but do not have any original ideas to do so? Here are our tips to organize different activities or new formats for events - either by going digital or respecting any physical distancing measures. Find out more about how you can promote the Day by reading our Get Involved Guide. 

Let us know about your IDAFLW event!

Remember to tell us about your events or efforts to promote. Photograph and/or record your event and send us your best photos so we can feature them in the IDAFLW Flickr Album. All high resolution photos should be accompanied by photo credits and information about the event so we can publish them.



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