Food Waste Report 2020

The Food Waste and Rescue in Israel Report

What does the report discuss?

The 2020 National Food Waste and Rescue Report is being released by Leket Israel for the sixth consecutive year, written and edited by BDO Consulting. The Report’s goal is to spark a public discourse on food waste and to galvanize the development of a national policy that will lead to systemic changes in food waste and rescue in Israel.

This year’s Report takes a deep look at the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on food waste and food rescue in Israel. In addition, the crisis significantly intensified the problem of food safety in Israel and emphasized the importance of food rescue as a policy tool.

The Report is based on the BDO model and includes a detailed model for assessing the environmental effects of food waste. The total environmental cost of food waste in Israel is NIS 3.42 billion. The climate crisis and the Israeli government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions stresses the need to reduce food waste and the importance of food rescue as a policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well.

The 2019 report, released for the first time with Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, is intended to serve as the foundation for public discourse on the problem of food waste, and as a tool for developing national policy to change how food waste and rescue are handled in Israel.

This report, written and edited by BDO, is based on 2019 data, prior to the COVID-19 crisis. It includes a detailed model for estimating the environmental impact of food waste which is NIS 3.2 billion ($945 million).

The economic data shows that the financial consequences of the Coronavirus crisis include increased unemployment and less disposable household income, which are likely to exacerbate food insecurity in Israel. This only serves to highlight the importance of food rescue policy as a socio-economic tool that facilitates both rescuing food at one-third of its cost, and substantially reducing the loss of natural resources.

What is the issue of food waste?

Food waste refers to food that was intended for human consumption and for a variety of reasons was spoiled or wasted or not consumed.  Food waste occurs at all stages of the food supply chain, from production, storage, packaging and processing stages to retail and consumption.

The Report is based on figures from 2020 where 150,000 people joined the circle of poverty as a result of Covid-19. The impact of the crisis is twofold: on the one hand, there is an increase in the scope of food insecurity due to a negative impact on earning capacity and on the other hand, damage to the traditional systems for ensuring food security due to the coronavirus restrictions.

According to the Report’s estimates, the total amount of food waste in Israel for 2020 is 2.5 million tons, which is valued at approximately NIS 19. 1 billion. The total loss represents about 35% of the total food production in Israel, of which, approximately 1.1 million tons is rescuable, valued at about Nis 6.4 billion.

Food waste occurs when food that is fit for human consumption is either destroyed or becomes spoiled instead of being eaten. Food loss occurs at all stages of the food chain; manufacturing, production, storage, packaging and processing, to the retail and consumption stages.

Estimates in the report reveal that in Israel, in 2019, 2.5 million tons (5.5 billion pounds) of food, valued at NIS 20.3 billion (US $6 billion), was wasted, meaning that approximately 35% of domestic food production was lost. Of this amount, approximately 1.2 million tons (2.65 million pounds), worth NIS 7.1 billion (US $2.1 billion), was rescuable.

What are the report’s main conclusions?

The Report includes a comprehensive and detailed study of the extent of food waste in Israel. It identifies the potential value for food rescue at each of stages in the food chain production, and the environmental costs of food waste at each stage.

The Report’s findings indicate a high feasibility of rescuing food, from an economic, social and environmental perspective. Every shekel invested in food rescue valued at NIS 3.6. In addition to the environmental impacts, every shekel invested in rescuing food generates an economic value of NIS 4.2 for the national economy.

We hope that the Report’s data will help highlight the urgent need for action and recognition by the state for food rescue, which can provide a response to millions who experience food insecurity in Israel, and the tens of thousands who have recently joined them.

The findings indicate that food rescue is beneficial from economic, social, and environmental perspectives. Every shekel invested in food rescue produces food with a direct value of US $3.6. When taking the environmental impact of food rescue into account, the economic value of each shekel invested in food rescue creates US $4.2 in value for the national economy.