Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 12.3.1 - Global Food Loss and Waste

SDG target 12.3 has two components, Losses and Waste that should be measured by two separate indicators.

Sub-Indicator 12.3.1.a - Food Loss Index

The Food Loss Index (FLI) focuses on food losses that occur from production up to (and not including) the retail level. It measures the changes in percentage losses for a basket of 10 main commodities by country in comparison with a base period. The FLI will contribute to measure progress towards SDG Target 12.3.

Sub-Indicator 12.3.1.b - Food Waste Index

A proposal for measuring Food Waste, which comprises the retail and consumption levels is under development. UN Environment is taking the lead on this sub-indicator.

Target 12.3

By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

Percentage of food loss by region, 2015–2020


This sub-indicator measures changes in the food losses from along the supply chain from the point of maturity on the production site to the retails level. The objective is to show the impact of policy and investment on the efficiency of the supply chain. FAO recommends collecting data for the various stages (harvest, post-production, storage, transportation, primary processing and wholesales) to help countries tailor programs to improve the efficiency and functioning of their food supply system. FAO also recommends a food systems approach that addresses food losses and waste in the context of other policy priorities.

Key results

Globally, food loss estimates have remained steady between 2016 and 2020, although with substantial variations across regions and subregions.  

The global percentage of food lost after harvesting at the farm, transport, storage, wholesale and processing levels is estimated at 13 percent in 2016 and 13.3 percent in 2020. These percentages correspond to a food loss index of 98.7 in 2016 and 101.2 in 2020.  

At the regional level, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest losses at 21.4 percent. LDCs and SIDS also register high losses, with 18.9 percent and 17.3 percent, respectively. Structural inadequacies in these regions result in food being lost in large quantities between the farm and retail levels. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia also registers high food losses (15.1 percent), due to large losses in value chains for fruits and vegetables. The lowest losses occur in Latin America and the Caribbean (12.3 percent) and Europe and Northern America (9.9 percent). All regions except Central and Southern Asia register an increase in estimated losses in 2020 as compared to 2016, with the highest increases seen in SIDS (up 1 percent), Oceania (up 1.2 percent) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (up 1.7 percent).  

Training resources

Training Course on Post-Harvest Losses in Grains and Pulses (EN | FR)

Guidelines on the measurement of harvest and post-harvest losses

Grains and pulses | Field test reports (Ghana Malawi | Zimbabwe)

Fruits and vegetables | Field test report in Mexico 

Animal products | Field test report in Zambia 

Fish and fish products | Field test report in Guyana

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