226,000 Tons

of food were lost and wasted in institutional consumption settings in 2022
5% increase in food waste from institutional consumption in 2022 compared to 2021

Food Waste and Rescue in the Institutional Consumption Sector

In 2022, Israeli households consumed a significant portion of their food outside the home, in various institutional settings (16). This played a large role in the increased rate of food waste.

According to the 8th Annual Food Waste Report, some 2 million people in Israel ate at least one meal (an average of 1.1 meals) outside the home each day (17). This represents a total of about 690 million meals, comprising some 770 thousand tons of food. The financial expenditure on food purchased and consumed outside the home was about NIS 14b ($4b) per year.

Food waste at the institutional consumption level amounted to 226 thousand tons, an increase of about 5% compared to 2021. The cost of this waste was about NIS 3.6b ($1b), in addition to the environmental cost of about NIS 255m ($72m) (18).

It is possible to rescue about 74 thousand tons of food per year, with a value of approximately NIS 1.2b ($340m), equivalent to about 64 million meals per year, on average.

It would be possible to salvage about a third of the food that is lost or wasted in institutional settings each year; an average of about 64 million meals comprising 74,000 tons of food valued at NIS 1.2b ($340m).

16. In this Report, the institutional sector includes food consumption in event halls, hotels, hospitals, security force bases, workplaces, educational institutions, and restaurants.
17. The BDO model for food waste in the institutional sector is based on data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the National Restaurant Association, the Association of Owners of Halls and Event Venues in Israel, and Israeli security forces.
18. This environmental cost was not embodied in the market value of the food wasted in this sector.
It is possible to rescue about 74 thousand tons of food per year, with a value of approximately NIS 1.2b ($340m), equivalent to about 64 million meals per year, on average.
Routinely, about 20% of the food consumed in Israel is eaten in the framework of institutions with catered meals: in cafeterias of factories and workplaces, on bases for the army, police, and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), in hotels, event halls, restaurants, schools, hospitals, etc (19). Because a large number of people eat together in one place, there is significant potential for reducing waste and increasing food rescue. When feeding a large number of people in institutional settings, some food waste is inevitable because there is a need to ensure an adequate amount of food that is varied enough to suit people’s preferences. There are also structural factors of uncertainty that must be considered.
19. The model calculated the average size of a meal for each category, according to its characteristics.

Rate of Food Waste from the Institutional Consumption Sector, by Venue

In recent years, most institutional kitchens are operated by external companies with a high level of expertise in the field. They strive to achieve maximum economic efficiency and minimize waste. Additionally, the Covid-19 crisis forced caterers to change their serving methods, which led to a reduction in waste.

Nevertheless, catering companies working in this field cannot plan only according to the average number of diners. They must calculate a margin of safety to ensure that they provide an adequate supply of food even on days where the number of diners exceeds the average.

The analysis in this Report shows that institutional settings with a high level of uncertainty regarding the number of diners tend to have a higher amount of waste. For example, at open military bases or workplaces where diners have other alternatives, waste is greater than in institutional settings where there is less uncertainty about the number of diners, such as schools or prisons.

In addition, there is greater waste when a higher variety of dishes is offered, due to uncertainty about diners’ preferences. At event halls and hotels, where this is the case, the waste is higher compared to workplaces or military and police bases.

Summary of Estimated Food Waste in Institutional Settings

* This figure was estimated according to the number of working days relevant for each category and distinguishes between the various populations within each category.

The nature of the food service and the population of diners also affect the extent of waste. In restaurants, where the food is prepared to order and consumers pay according to their actual consumption, the waste rate is lower than in settings that offer buffet-style serving, where the food is prepared in advance.

In 2022, the value of potentially rescuable food that was lost or wasted in the institutional sector was estimated at NIS 1.2b ($340m). This represents an increase over the previous year, which is attributable to a return to routine activity patterns following the Covid-19 crisis, the impacts of which were still being felt in 2021. Approximately 40% of thesalvageable food waste occurred in event halls where it was estimated that about 22,000 tons of food worth about NIS 464m ($131m) could have been rescued in 2022. A significant amount of food could also be rescued from security force bases, hotels, and workplaces. It was estimated that in 2022, food worth between NIS 110m ($31m) and NIS 190m ($54m) could have been salvaged from each of these types of settings. Food worth NIS 55m ($16m) could be rescued from hospitals. In restaurants, there is a significant amount of potentially salvageable food, worth approximately NIS 150m ($42.5m) per year. However, because of the physical distances between restaurants and lack of critical mass at each, the feasibility of actually salvaging food from restaurants is low.

The high yield of food that could be rescued in the institutional consumption sector is due to the relatively high value of the meals and the relatively low logistical costs of collecting food from large kitchens that tend to be concentrated in city centers and industrial areas.

The 74,000 tons of food per year that could potentially be rescued at the institutional consumption level constitute approximately 15% of the amount of food required to complete the nutritional gap in food insecurity in Israel [see Chapter 7]. This has the potential to reduce excess health costs valued at approximately NIS $900m ($255m) per year [for more, see Chapter 8].

Summary of the Value of Rescuable Food Wasted via Consumption at the Institutional Level Each Year