What Wasted Food Looks Like All Over The World

Food waste is a problem all over the world, but how it happens — and what that looks like — changes wildly across country borders.

Top image: A peek inside a dumpster by Taz, who notes "I so wanted to pull those salmon spines out of there, take them home and make stock." We agree.

This chart from the FAO breaks down the ways food loss or waste happens around the world. Interestingly, the percentage of total food loss is remarkably consistent (with perhaps the exception of parts of Asia, where the loss is noticeably less) across geographies. But just where that loss comes in varies hugely.


In North America, Europe, and the wealthier areas of Asia, wasting food at the consumer level (all those bags of arugula slowly turning to slime in the bottom of your refrigerator, for instance) is the biggest slice of the pie, along with agricultural waste. But when you look at the rest of the world, it's not consumer or agricultural waste that are the biggest problem: It's processing.


One thing is pretty clear from this graph. If we're going to reduce food waste around the world, the solutions are going to have be tailored for different locales.

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