NIS 6.4 billion

worth of food is rescuable
1.1 million tons of wasted food is edible and can be rescued

How Much Food Can Be Rescued?

The amount of rescuable food decreased in 2020, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic that led to a transition from institutional consumption, which holds rescue potential, to household consumption, where none of the food waste is rescuable. In addition, there was an increase in waste in the agricultural sector, which has a lot of rescue potential, and therefore rescuable waste in this sector also increased. This increase was offset by the decrease in waste in the retail sector, and accordingly a decrease in the volume of rescuable waste.

Approximately 35% of food produced in Israel is lost or wasted during the production, distribution, and consumption stages, totaling at approximately 2.5 million tons annually. The direct cost of food waste in Israel is NIS 19.1 billion, which constitutes 1.4% of the GNP. When taking into account the cost of greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions resulting from food waste, the total cost of food waste amounts to approximately NIS 21 billion. Of this, about 50% is rescuable food fit for human consumption.

In terms of food rescue, the central component is unconsumed edible food (fit for consumption with nutritional value and health benefits). There are various reasons why waste occurs in each value stage of the production chain. The common denominator is the lack of economic viability for food producers (farmers, manufacturers, retailers, etc.) to invest additional resources in the next stages of production and distribution.

The value of rescuable food is approx’ NIS 6.4 billion, with wasted food increasing in value as it progresses through each stage of the value chain and more resources are invested in raising, producing, packaging, and transporting it

Reducing food waste, whether by preventing waste production or rescuing surpluses, is a top global priority. The estimated amount of rescuable food is derived from a value chain model designed specifically for the food industry. Every type of wasted food at each stage of the value chain was analyzed and classified as rescuable or un-rescuable (unfit for consumption).

It is important to note that when food is classified as rescuable this does not take into account the economic viability of rescuing the food, but refers to the safety of its consumption and the technical capability of using the wasted food to feed people.

Following is a detailing of the policy tools used in response to the Covid-19 crisis in countries around the world:

Value of Rescuable Food in the Food Chain (In NIS millions, rounded for ease of presentation)

Source: BDO estimates
The value of rescuable food is approximately NIS 6.4 billion, with wasted food increasing in value as it progresses through each stage of the value chain and more resources are invested in raising, producing, packaging, and transporting it. The table below demonstrates that most of the wasted value is concentrated in the retail and distribution sector, as the food wasted in this sector is ready to be sold and consumed but goes to waste before it reaches the end consumer.
According to estimates, under economically viable conditions and given the appropriate resources, roughly 50% of food waste is rescuable and can be used to feed needy populations suffering from food insecurity. Furthermore, rescuing 50% of the food currently being wasted would save the Israeli economy approximately 200 million cubic meters of water, the production of over 600 million kWh, 37 thousand tons of fuel, and the use of significant land resources.

Estimated Rescuable Food in Israel, Throughout the Value Chain, in Thousands of Tons

* Grains & legumes waste was calculated based on consumption as most grains are not produced in Israel.
Source: BDO estimates
In the current report, household food waste is not classified as rescuable. There are various approaches to the issue of food waste in household consumption. Western culture is based on consumerism and overabundance and it seems consumers derive benefit and joy not only from consuming food, but also from having a variety of available options, even to the point of excess. From an economic perspective, as long as consumers pay full price for the products they purchase, there is no justification for restricting their consumption. However, food production entails the use of natural resources and has an environmental impact, and these external costs are not reflected in the price consumers pay for food. Therefore, there is justification for taking action to encourage the reduction of food waste. This could be done for example, through government-sponsored campaigns, as has been implemented in several Western countries, in order to raise public awareness regarding the external impact of producing food that is left unconsumed, including wasting the consumers’ financial resources and damaging the environment.
A Leket Israel truck collecting surplus produce from a farmer’s fields. Credit: Leket Israel