2.6 million tons
How Much Food is Wasted in Israel
Food waste estimates in Israel are based on a unique value chain model for domestic food production (7).
Estimated Food Waste in Israel* in 2021
Estimated at approximately 2.6 billion tons, food waste in Israel constitutes about 37% of overall domestic food production. In the agricultural sector, the amount of food produced in 2021 was similar to that produced in recent years, about 6.9 million tons, an increase of 0.4% over 2020.
Total food waste in Israel through all stages of the value chain is the equivalent of NIS 675 per month per household.
In monetary terms, about 20% of the value of the wasted food, which is equivalent to approximately NIS 4 billion, occurs during various stages of production. This loss of NIS 4 billion in value represents approximately 13% of the total value of agricultural production in Israel. Approximately 80% of the waste, equivalent to approximately NIS 16.5 billion, occurs during the retail stages of distribution and consumption.
Economically, the value of agricultural commodities per ton increases as they progress along the production value chain, and food production involves the investment of additional costs for sorting, processing, transporting, distributing, and retailing. The authors of this report assessed the waste value in the early stages of production (growing, packaging, and manufacturing) based on wholesale prices that were paid to farmers. Waste during the later stages in the value chain was estimated based on retail food prices.
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 the analysis of data relevant to agricultural production, storage, import, export, distribution, and consumption of a sample of 50 different types of food (8).
For each type of food, the volume was measured in terms of gross agricultural product and waste rate for every stage of the value chain of food production, distribution, and consumption in Israel. The assessment presented here is based in part on agricultural waste surveys conducted and updated by the Volcani Center (9). The total estimated food waste for the economy as a whole and for each food type is based on the waste estimated for each stage and each product in the value chain.
Estimated Food Waste in Israel, in Thousands of Tons per Year
There are wide variations in food waste across the various food types and stages of the value chain. In each stage of the value chain, the amount of food waste out of the total amount of food produced or consumed was examined. Thus, for example, 10% of the total amount of food produced was wasted during the agricultural stage. Likewise, 16% of food produced was wasted during the consumption stage (household and institutional consumption).
Fruit and vegetables constitute a major part of food waste in Israel, which stems both from the fact that they are a substantial part of Israel’s agricultural production and due to the high waste rate of produce. High waste rates for fruit and vegetables are not unique to the Israeli economy. An international comparison shows similar rates for fruit and vegetable waste in Europe. Compared to the United States, the waste rate in Israel is lower, however, it consists of lower waste rates in the agricultural and consumption stages and higher waste rates in the intermediate stages (10).
The economic value of wasted food in Israel is around NIS 23.1 billion, constituting approximately 1.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as estimated by the authors of this report. Approximately 7% resulted from the unnecessary waste of natural resources (land and water). In addition, the unnecessary cost of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants in each stage of the value chain due to the growing and producing of unconsumed food, is estimated at NIS 1.4 billion. The cost of processing and packaging wasted food is estimated at around NIS 820 million. Therefore, the total cost of wasted food, including the waste of natural resources, the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, and the cost of waste processing, stands at approximately NIS 23.5 billion.
In quantitative terms, approximately 55% of the waste occurs in the stages of production, industry, retail, and distribution, even before the food has reached the household or consumer. In monetary terms, approximately 58% of the value of the food is lost in the stages of private and institutional consumption.