A review of food waste in 2021

In this blog post, we would like to bring to your awareness some numbers from recently published statistics about food waste with a focus on Sweden. 

In March 2021, the UN environment program (UNEP) released the Food Waste Index Report. What is it? As you might know, many countries aim to reach the Sustainable Development Goal on food loss and waste (SDG 12.3) by 2030. However, to measure success in the end you need to know 

  • how much food a country wastes before implementing any preventive measurements, 
  • a method how to track progress, frankly,  
  • definitions of food waste, what to include in this definition, and why. 

This document aims to answer all these questions to help governments on their mission to achieve a noble goal of food waste reduction. It has a lot of useful information, but we will have a look only at the statistical part of it.   

The report pictures a horrifying reality. On the one hand, 690 million people are hungry, while 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet. On the other hand, 17% of food is wasted every year, which constitutes 931 million tonnes. Moreover, this food doesn’t just disappear from the planet, it contributes 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. There is only one logical conclusion – we need to reduce food waste on the planetary scale. 

Now, let’s shift our attention to Sweden and try to place it in this picture. Are we doing better or worse than other countries? 

Many countries still do not report or measure food waste, but Europe is the most well-documented in this aspect. Moreover, Sweden is among the other 14 countries with exceptionally good food waste tracking. 

Unfortunately, this is all good news for now. Sweden wastes the most per capita in the household sector if we look at countries in northern Europe. It is also above the average for the rest of Europe and the rest of the world, wasting 81 kg/capita/year in comparison to the European average of 74 kg/capita/year and the world average of 79 kg/capita/year. Overall Swedish food waste from households adds up to 812,948 tonnes each year. And let’s not forget 100,364 tonnes from retail and 205,746 tonnes from food services. Altogether it does not look good for Sweden. 

But it is not hopeless, Sweden has many food waste initiatives that help decrease the problem of food waste. BFC is one of them, and we are proud to share our statistics for 2021. 2573 people visited us at the BFC weekly market and together we saved 7949 kg of food. Not bad at all for a young organization that started as a student project. 

Impressions from the makets in 2021:

However, even though we have so many participants, sometimes we still do not have enough people to collect all the food and some of it goes to waste anyway. If you care about our planet and people and want to help us on our mission, you are very welcome to come to our markets and save food with us. Together we can achieve our dream for a less wasteful country.

Written by Marina Shimchenko

Contact us to become a volunteer.


Published by bruisedfoodclubuppsala

Non-profit organisation that saves food, reduces food waste and hunger and promotes sustainable food consumption.

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