billion pounds of food is wasted in Israel annually

How Much Food is Wasted in Israel?

Food waste estimates in Israel are based on a unique model of the value chain for domestic food production 1. Estimated at approximately 5.5 billion pounds, food waste in Israel constitutes 35% of overall domestic food production. This year, the agricultural sector in Israel recorded a 2.4% decrease in production compared to the previous year, when there was a 2.3% increase in production.

Findings of the 2018 National Food Waste and Rescue Report reveal an increase in food waste, compared to the findings in the previous report. This was the combined result of an increase in imports, partially offset by the decrease in Israeli agricultural production, and updated data concerning food waste in the household consumption sector, which underwent evaluation for the first time this year.

1. The value chain model does not include beverages, energy boosters, sugar, honey and candy.

In monetary terms, some 18% of the value of food waste, worth approximately $1 billion, occurs during the various stages of production, representing approximately 13% of the value of agricultural production in Israel. Nearly 82% of the waste, worth approximately $4.5 billion, occurs during distribution and consumption.

A comprehensive value chain model for various food production and consumption stages was designed to assess food waste and the potential for food rescue in Israel. This model is based on a bottom-up approach, and includes analysis of data relevant to agricultural production, import, export, industry, distribution, and a sample of consumption patterns of 50 types of food (2). Processed produce included in the data is translated into terms of fresh produce.

For each type of food, the volume of input and output was measured in terms of gross agricultural product and loss rate for every stage of the value chain in the food production, distribution and consumption process. The loss assessment is based, in part, on agricultural waste surveys which were conducted and updated by the Volcani Center (3). The estimated total loss of food for the economy as a whole, and for each type of food, is based on the total loss for each product and stage.

2. We are aware such estimates may include deviations or inaccuracies that are inevitable due to the lack of official data. Additionally, the volume of annual food waste also depends on random variables, such as extreme weather conditions, natural events and pests, deviations in demand, etc. The data presented here is based on an annual analysis and average weather conditions. This data is indicative and intended to serve as the basis for public debate, and for further research and study.

Source: BDO estimates

One of the major challenges of analyzing food waste and the potential for food rescue in Israel is the lack of any data-gathering mechanisms, or monitoring of relevant data. This absence of data was discussed extensively in the 2015 State Comptroller’s Report. The data regarding food waste presented in this report is based on estimates, weighing a wide range of information sources and statistics available, As well as cooperation with the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and the Ministry of Social Affairs, conversations and interviews with experts in the field, study findings and results from previous reviews, international comparative studies and more.

There is great variance in the volume of food waste among the different foods types reviewed, as well as in each stage of the value chain in which the waste occurs. The value of agricultural produce per pound increases as it progresses along the value chain of production and as additional inputs are invested – including those required by sorting, processing, transport and distribution. Assessment of the value of waste in the early stages of production (growing, packaging and manufacturing) is based on the wholesale prices paid to farmers. Waste during the later stages in the value chain is estimated based on retail food prices.

The large share of waste from fruits and vegetables in Israel stems both from their large share in domestic agricultural production, and from the high rate of waste (40%) during the value stages. The high rate of waste for fruits and vegetables is not exclusive to the Israeli economy. Compared to international data, Israel’s rate of waste in this category is similar to that in Europe. Compared to the US, the rate of loss is even lower, but is composed of a lower rate of loss during the agricultural production and consumption stages, and greater waste in the intermediary stages.

Source: BDO estimates

Total food waste in all value chain stages translates to a loss of approximately $180 per month per household in Israel, equivalent to wasting approximately 155 pounds of food per month per household. Quantitatively speaking, approximately 55% of this waste is incurred during production, manufacturing and distribution, before the food reaches household or institutional consumers. In monetary terms, roughly 60% is wasted during household or institutional consumption.

4. The estimated food waste from industry does not include food that is recycled, primarily as animal feed.
Source: BDO estimates