NIS 9.5 billion

value of food wasted via household consumption in 2022
NIS 3,500 worth of annual food waste per household in Israel

Food Waste and Rescue at the Household Consumption Level

In Israel in 2022, some 990,000 tons of food were wasted through household consumption. This was about 4% higher than the previous year, as a result of population growth and increased agricultural output (20). The value of the food wasted via household consumption in 2022 was approximately NIS 9.5b ($2.7b), reflecting a 5% increase in food prices between 2021 and 2022. Along with this direct cost, the environmental costs from household food waste were approximately NIS 1.0b ($0.3b) (21).
An average household in Israel throws away about 14% of the food it purchases. This means that in 2022, the average Israeli family threw away about NIS 4,000 ($1,133) worth of food — the amount they would spend on food in six weeks. The average household financial cost of wasted food was NIS 335 ($95) monthly. Of this, NIS 148 ($42) were fruit and vegetables, NIS 111 ($31) of grains and legumes, NIS 54 ($15) of meat, eggs, and fish, and NIS 21 ($6) of dairy products.
20. Based on the BDO value chain model, using weighted data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics for 2022, a national waste composition survey conducted by the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection for 2012-2013, a survey conducted by Geocartography in January 2019, and the research article: Ayalon, O., Elimelech, E. and Art, E. (2018). “What gets measured gets managed: A new method of measuring household food waste,” Waste Management 76, 68-81.
21. The market value of the food waste does not include the environmental cost of the natural resources wasted on unconsumed food during this stage.

Costs of Food Waste

Primary Causes of Household Food Waste: Preparation of Excess Food and Expiration

Food waste within households results from a combination of consumer habits and the culture of abundance, and how food is stored. The value of food waste from household consumption is approximately NIS 9.5b ($2.7b) per year.

The primary causes of food waste via household consumption are (22):

1. Excess preparation Cooking and preparing more food than is needed, sometimes due to over-purchasing
2. Expiration (spoiling) Some food is not consumed before it spoils or passes its expiration date. This can also be related to overbuying. The desire for variety, together with uncertainty about how much the household will consume, creates a situation in which some of the purchased food expires before it is consumed.
3. Over-purchasing Buying more food than the amount consumed, results in high amounts of food waste
4. Improper storage Improper storage shortens the shelf life of food products. Consumers’ lack of knowledge about optimal storage conditions or lack of attention to proper storage leads to spoilage and disposal of food products.
22. 2022 Global Food Security Index, Economist
Other causes of food waste in household consumption include damaged or spilled food and food that was not prepared or cooked properly. In Israel, where expenditure on food is relatively high compared to other countries, food waste is one of the factors that affects the cost of living.

Households Annually Discard

Loss and waste of food within households are not unique to Israel, and the waste rates in Israel are similar to those in other developed countries. The highest rate of waste in Israel, as well as in other Western countries, is in fruit and vegetables: 23% of the vegetables and fruit bought in Israel are thrown away, compared to 28% in the USA, and 19% in Europe. This is mainly due to their short shelf life and failure to store them in optimal conditions.

An International Comparison of Rates of Household Food Waste

For meat, fish, and dairy products, the rate of waste is about 8%. This lower rate is due, in part, to their extended shelf lives if frozen, as well as their higher cost per unit of weight, which creates an economic incentive to reduce waste. The waste rate of these products in Israel is similar to that in Europe, and lower than in the US.

For grains and legumes, the rate of waste is about 14%. This reflects the relatively short shelf life for breads and pastries alongside the long shelf life of uncooked grains and legumes.

NIS 9,900

Total Value of Annual Food Waste per Household (23)

In Israel, where food expenditure is relatively high compared to other countries, food waste is a factor that affects the cost of living. This includes excess expenditures on food and the effect of loss and waste on increasing food prices. Overall, food waste from households drives up the cost of living by NIS 9,900 ($2,800) per household per year.
23. Cost of living, including taxes and external costs

Food Waste: Impact on the Cost of Living

Source: BDO estimates

Cost of living – Excess expenditures:
Buying food that is then thrown away is a direct cost to a household. On average, the direct financial loss per household (without indirect, external costs) (24) from wasted food is NIS 335 ($95) per month, or NIS 4,000 ($1,133) annually. The costs of disposing of food and burying it in landfills also eventually come out of consumers’ pockets through property taxes and municipal taxes, causing an additional annual household cost of NIS 215 ($61) for the removal of wasted food.

Cost of living – Increased food prices:
Beyond households’ direct excess expenditures on food that they purchased but did not consume, food loss has an impact at all stages of the value chain, prior to consumption. From an economic point of view, the cost of food reflects all production and sales expenditures at all stages of the value chain: cultivation, production, packaging, transportation, and marketing. Therefore, the price of food in marketing outlets includes food waste from the retail sector. Similarly, the wholesale food price reflects food loss in the agricultural and industrial sectors. Eventually, the consumer pays the costs of loss at all stages of the value chain, resulting in an additional NIS 3,250 ($920) per year, due to an increase in food prices by 11%.

24. External costs not included in this are: removing and burying the discarded food, the financial impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, and the increase in wholesale price due to loss in agriculture and industry.

Cost of living – Health costs from wasting food:
Food waste indirectly affects healthcare costs because not fully using the food purchased by households exacerbates food insecurity. Food insecurity is a risk factor for chronic disease and mental illness, and it impacts the national economy by increasing healthcare costs. The cost of these health impacts on the Israeli economy overall was estimated at about NIS 6.2b ($1.75b) in 2022 or about NIS 2,200 ($623) per household [see Chapter 8].

Cost of living – Environmental impacts from emission of greenhouse gases and air pollutants:
The environmental effects of food waste indirectly impact the cost of living. The emission of air pollutants has negative effects on human health and the environment. These external costs resulting from environmental damage affect the economy as a whole, mainly due to additional expenditures on healthcare (25). The monetary value of these negative environmental impacts on social welfare in 2022 was estimated at about NIS 1.5b ($0.42b) for the Israeli economy overall, and about NIS 235 ($67) per household [see Chapter 10].

Beyond these direct impacts on the cost of living from wasted food, and the indirect costs from removing and transporting wasted food, burning fossil fuels, and environmental damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions, there are additional effects such as traffic congestion and soil pollution, which are not included in the environmental cost estimates in this Report [see Chapter 10].

When landfilled organic waste breaks down, it emits methane gas, a greenhouse gas whose Global Warming Potential (GWP) is 84 times higher than that of carbon dioxide in the short term (20 years), and 28 times higher in the long term (100 years) (26).

According to the findings of the 2022 Food Waste and Rescue Report, 990,000 tons of household food waste were sent to landfills, causing an additional 310,000 trips per year, approximately, by garbage collection trucks that cause air pollution, road congestion, noise pollution, and accidents. Therefore, beyond the NIS 9.5b ($2.7b) in costs due to household food waste, and NIS 0.5b ($0.14b) for the removal of wasted food from households, additional external costs are incurred from traffic congestion and environmental impacts.

25. The Green Book: Estimating and Measuring Environmental Costs, The Ministry of Environmental Protection, 2021.
26. IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report

Household Food Waste in Israel Per Year

*From “Geocartography” survey findings, March 2021 by Leket Israel and BDO.