Uniqueness of Israeli Food Production and Consumption
Israel is characterized by a food expenditure rate that is among the highest in the developed world; at the same time, it has the highest poverty rate among OECD countries (1). As a result, food insecurity in Israel is a particularly severe problem. BDO’s analysis of the 2021 report issued by the National Insurance Institute found that 18.7% of Israeli households suffer from food insecurity, which is equivalent to approximately five hundred thousand households who suffer from food insecurity in Israel (2). From an economic perspective, this indicates that a food insecure household spends approximately 30% less on food than those who enjoy normative levels of consumption.
In a small, arid country like Israel, water and land are valuable, limited resources. The need to use land and water resources to grow surplus agricultural produce that is later lost or wasted, incurs further environmental and social costs, beyond the direct economic cost.
The nutritional components found in food are derived almost entirely from agricultural products, including vegetables, fruit, legumes, dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, oils etc. At the same time, agricultural production has an inherently high level of uncertainty resulting from external factors such as pests, weather, diseases, and more.
This report examines the issue of food waste and the economic, social and environmental viability of its rescue, based on quantifiable estimates and assessments. It includes updated data and methodological improvements based on experience accumulated during the preparation of the five previous reports. This year’s report also includes an expanded section on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on food waste and rescue.