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Global food loss and waste estimates show increasing nutritional and environmental pressures


Accurate global food losses and waste (FLW) quantification remains challenging owing to limited harmonized global estimates, a lack of comprehensive quantification approaches and an absence of frameworks for addressing FLW challenges. Here we compile a country-level database that assesses FLW across global value chains and quantifies the nutritional and environmental impact of FLW for 121 countries and 20 composite regions. Between 2004 and 2014, FLW increased by a quarter, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where increasing nutritional losses of ~550 cal per capita per day impact food security. Growing food imports in high-income countries and fast-growing economies worsened FLW and related environmental footprints in exporting low-income regions. Reducing overconsumption and FLW in high-income countries may have positive effects in middle- and low-income countries, where food exports largely drive farm-level losses. Policies should focus on promoting the profitable reuse of unavoidable FLW while enhancing agricultural production efficiency to improve water use and nutritional security.

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Fig. 1: Flows of FLW by primary food product generated along different stages of global FSC (by reference year).
Fig. 2: Total FLW generation, per capita FLW generation and trade-embedded FLW by country.
Fig. 3: Relation between FLW, gross food supply and GDP by country in 2014 and changes in FLW based on KAYA identity from 2004 to 2014.
Fig. 4: Nutritional composition of FLW (grams per capita per day) generated along global FSC.
Fig. 5: Overview of the global data coverage (shares (%) of FLW) of the constructed database by commodity, region and supply chain stage, and data coverage comparison with the FAO-FLW database (2019).

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Data availability

The FLW database and results data are available in Supplementary Information.

Code availability

The code used for the analysis is described in Supplementary Information.


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We have no acknowledgements and received no specific funding for this work.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.G. and M.C. conceived and designed the experiments, performed the experiments, analysed the data, contributed materials and analysis tools, and wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Alessandro Gatto or Maksym Chepeliev.

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Nature Food thanks Tariq Ali and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Figs. 1–8 and Tables 1–18.

Supplementary Data 1

File containing a new global database of FLW and embedded nutritional and environmental impacts.

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Gatto, A., Chepeliev, M. Global food loss and waste estimates show increasing nutritional and environmental pressures. Nat Food 5, 136–147 (2024).

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