2.6 million tons

of food were lost and wasted in Israel in 2022
NIS 21.3 billion – Economic Value of Food Waste in 2022

Food Loss and Waste: How Much Food is Lost and Wasted in Israel

The findings of the 8th Annual Food Waste and Rescue Report indicated that approximately 2.6 million tons of food were lost or wasted in Israel, an increase of about 1.5% compared to the findings of the 7th Annual Report (2.58m tons) (4).

Much of 2022 (September 2021-2022) coincided with the Hebrew year 5782 (תשפ”ב) during which a Shmita year took place. The laws of Shmita are based on when a fruit begins to form. Since fruit picked after Rosh Hashanah began to form in the previous year, it is permitted to be eaten during the Shmita year.

However, because vegetables develop during the same year, vegetables harvested during the Shmita year may not be eaten. As a result, in 2022 the yield of vegetables decreased by about 8% compared to 2021. Vegetables play a central role in food loss and waste in Israel. Although agricultural output increased by about 4% in 2022, there was a 4% decrease in food loss and waste in the agricultural sector as compared to 2021. However, the authors of this Report predict that the Shmita year caused an increase in the amount of lost and wasted fruit, which will be felt only next year.

Food loss and waste in Israel were based on a model of the food production value chain (5). The loss of food in Israel in 2022 is estimated at about 2.6m tons, which represents 37% of the volume of local food production. The amount produced in the agricultural sector in 2022 was similar to that of recent years and stands at approximately 7.1m tons. The total food waste at all stages of the value chain is equivalent to approximately New Israeli Shekels (NIS) 689 billion (United States Dollar $195 billion (6) per month per household in Israel.

4.‏ The data was rounded up for easier reading: In 2021 waste was about 2.58 million tons, and in 2022 waste was about 2.63 million tons.
5.‏ The value chain model does not include beverages, stimulants, sugar, honey, or sweets.
6. $1 USD = NIS 3.53

Estimated Food Waste in Israel* in 2022, NIS per month

*A waste of NIS 615 ($174.2) per household per month reflects the waste throughout the entire value chain, including direct household expenditure.
Source: BDO estimates

About 20% of the loss, valued at some NIS 4.5b ($1.27b), occurs during the production stages. This loss constitutes about 13% of the total value of agricultural output in Israel. The other approximately 80% of food waste, valued at some NIS 18.6b ($5.27b), occurs during the retailing, distribution, and consumption stages. From an economic point of view, the value per ton increases along the production value chain. Additional financial investment is made during the sorting, processing, transportation, distribution, and retailing of food products. In the first stages of production (agriculture / growing crops, packaging and handling, and industrial processing), the value of the loss is estimated according to the wholesale price to the farmer. The waste in later stages of the value chain is estimated according to the food’s retail price.

To estimate and analyze food waste and the potential for food rescue in Israel, a comprehensive value chain model was developed, incorporating the production and consumption of all food categories. The model was built using the BOTTOM-UP method, based on the analysis of data from agricultural production, storage, import, export, industrial processing, distribution, and consumption of a sample of about 50 different types of food. The data include processed agricultural products, converted into fresh produce equivalents (7).

The inputs and outputs for each food category were estimated in terms of the amount of raw agricultural produce and the rate of waste. This was done for each stage along the value chain in the processes of production, retailing, and consumption of food in Israel. Waste was assessed based on surveys conducted and updated by the Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center (among other sources) (8). Estimates of the total waste are based on the sum in each stage and the total is the sum for all stages across all categories.

The figures presented in this Report are based on estimates of food waste that consider a wide range of information sources and data available to the authors, as well as from collaborations with the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, conversations and interviews with experts in the field, previous studies and works, international comparative data and more.

7. Given the lack of official data, deviations or inaccuracies in these estimates may be inevitable. Additionally, annual food loss is affected by changing and random factors, such as extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, pests, fluctuations in demand, etc. The data are indicative and are intended to form a basis for public discussion and further research and analysis of the issue.
8. Dr. Ron Porat, 2015 and 2016

Food waste is generally divided into two main stages of the value chain

Rate of Food Waste in Each Stage of the Value Chain in Thousands of Tons

*The percentages of food waste have been rounded to the nearest percentile for ease of presentation
** Source: BDO estimates

Waste varies greatly across the various food categories value chain stages. For each food stage, waste is examined for the overall production or consumption stage. For example, 12% of the food is lost at the production stage and 16% of the food that reaches the consumption stage (home and institutional) is wasted.

Fruit and vegetables play a central role in food waste in Israel. This stems both from the high percentage of fruit and vegetables produced by local agriculture, and their high rate of waste along the stages of the value chain. This is not unique to the Israeli economy, with an international comparison showing that the rate of waste of this produce is similar to Europe.

Compared to the USA, the rate of waste in Israel is lower overall, with a lower waste rate in the agricultural production and consumption stages, and a higher waste rate in the intermediate stages (9).

9.‏ Global Food Losses and Food Waste, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 2011

Estimated Food Waste in Israel, in Thousands of Tons per Year

* The loss estimate in this sector does not include food waste that is recycled primarily as animal feed.

The Rate of Food Waste throughout the Value Chain

We estimated the economic value of food loss and waste in Israel at about NIS 23.1b ($6.54b), which represents about 1.4% of the GDP. Around 6% of this is attributed to unnecessary loss of natural resources (land and water). The cost attributed to unnecessary emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants at all stages along the value chain, as a result of growing and producing unconsumed food, is estimated at approximately NIS 1.5b ($0.4$b). The cost of packaging and handling food that is discarded is estimated at approximately NIS 860m ($243m). Therefore, the total cost of food waste, including the loss of natural resources, the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants and the cost of waste treatment, is about NIS 27.0b ($7.6b).

In quantitative terms, about 54% of the loss occurs during production, industrial processing, packaging, retail, and distribution, before the food reaches the home or institutional consumers. In financial terms, about 57% of the value of the waste occurs during the private and institutional consumption stages.

* Direct economic cost, without the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants
Source: BDO estimates