Missing Food, Missing Data? A Critical Review of Global Food Losses and Food Waste Data

Li Xue, Gang Liu*, Julian Parfitt, Xiaojie Liu, Erica Van Herpen, Åsa Stenmarck, Clementine O'Connor, Karin Östergren, Shengkui Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Food losses and food waste (FLW) have become a global concern in recent years and emerge as a priority in the global and national political agenda (e.g., with Target 12.3 in the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals). A good understanding of the availability and quality of global FLW data is a prerequisite for tracking progress on reduction targets, analyzing environmental impacts, and exploring mitigation strategies for FLW. There has been a growing body of literature on FLW quantification in the past years; however, significant challenges remain, such as data inconsistency and a narrow temporal, geographical, and food supply chain coverage. In this paper, we examined 202 publications which reported FLW data for 84 countries and 52 individual years from 1933 to 2014. We found that most existing publications are conducted for a few industrialized countries (e.g., the United Kingdom and the United States), and over half of them are based only on secondary data, which signals high uncertainties in the existing global FLW database. Despite these uncertainties, existing data indicate that per-capita food waste in the household increases with an increase of per-capita GDP. We believe that more consistent, in-depth, and primary-data-based studies, especially for emerging economies, are badly needed to better inform relevant policy on FLW reduction and environmental impacts mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume51
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)6618-6633
ISSN0013-936X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

food
loss
Environmental impact
mitigation
environmental impact
Food supply
United Nations
food supply
Gross Domestic Product
Supply chains
Sustainable development
sustainable development
Availability

Cite this

Xue, Li ; Liu, Gang ; Parfitt, Julian ; Liu, Xiaojie ; Van Herpen, Erica ; Stenmarck, Åsa ; O'Connor, Clementine ; Östergren, Karin ; Cheng, Shengkui. / Missing Food, Missing Data? A Critical Review of Global Food Losses and Food Waste Data. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2017 ; Vol. 51, No. 12. pp. 6618-6633.
@article{e14ada8c29d5420ba34c785cd0d12a0a,
title = "Missing Food, Missing Data? A Critical Review of Global Food Losses and Food Waste Data",
abstract = "Food losses and food waste (FLW) have become a global concern in recent years and emerge as a priority in the global and national political agenda (e.g., with Target 12.3 in the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals). A good understanding of the availability and quality of global FLW data is a prerequisite for tracking progress on reduction targets, analyzing environmental impacts, and exploring mitigation strategies for FLW. There has been a growing body of literature on FLW quantification in the past years; however, significant challenges remain, such as data inconsistency and a narrow temporal, geographical, and food supply chain coverage. In this paper, we examined 202 publications which reported FLW data for 84 countries and 52 individual years from 1933 to 2014. We found that most existing publications are conducted for a few industrialized countries (e.g., the United Kingdom and the United States), and over half of them are based only on secondary data, which signals high uncertainties in the existing global FLW database. Despite these uncertainties, existing data indicate that per-capita food waste in the household increases with an increase of per-capita GDP. We believe that more consistent, in-depth, and primary-data-based studies, especially for emerging economies, are badly needed to better inform relevant policy on FLW reduction and environmental impacts mitigation.",
author = "Li Xue and Gang Liu and Julian Parfitt and Xiaojie Liu and {Van Herpen}, Erica and {\AA}sa Stenmarck and Clementine O'Connor and Karin {\"O}stergren and Shengkui Cheng",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1021/acs.est.7b00401",
language = "English",
volume = "51",
pages = "6618--6633",
journal = "Environmental Science & Technology (Washington)",
issn = "0013-936X",
publisher = "American Chemical Society",
number = "12",

}

Xue, L, Liu, G, Parfitt, J, Liu, X, Van Herpen, E, Stenmarck, Å, O'Connor, C, Östergren, K & Cheng, S 2017, 'Missing Food, Missing Data? A Critical Review of Global Food Losses and Food Waste Data', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 51, no. 12, pp. 6618-6633. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b00401

Missing Food, Missing Data? A Critical Review of Global Food Losses and Food Waste Data. / Xue, Li; Liu, Gang; Parfitt, Julian; Liu, Xiaojie; Van Herpen, Erica; Stenmarck, Åsa; O'Connor, Clementine; Östergren, Karin; Cheng, Shengkui.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 51, No. 12, 2017, p. 6618-6633.

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Missing Food, Missing Data? A Critical Review of Global Food Losses and Food Waste Data

AU - Xue, Li

AU - Liu, Gang

AU - Parfitt, Julian

AU - Liu, Xiaojie

AU - Van Herpen, Erica

AU - Stenmarck, Åsa

AU - O'Connor, Clementine

AU - Östergren, Karin

AU - Cheng, Shengkui

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Food losses and food waste (FLW) have become a global concern in recent years and emerge as a priority in the global and national political agenda (e.g., with Target 12.3 in the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals). A good understanding of the availability and quality of global FLW data is a prerequisite for tracking progress on reduction targets, analyzing environmental impacts, and exploring mitigation strategies for FLW. There has been a growing body of literature on FLW quantification in the past years; however, significant challenges remain, such as data inconsistency and a narrow temporal, geographical, and food supply chain coverage. In this paper, we examined 202 publications which reported FLW data for 84 countries and 52 individual years from 1933 to 2014. We found that most existing publications are conducted for a few industrialized countries (e.g., the United Kingdom and the United States), and over half of them are based only on secondary data, which signals high uncertainties in the existing global FLW database. Despite these uncertainties, existing data indicate that per-capita food waste in the household increases with an increase of per-capita GDP. We believe that more consistent, in-depth, and primary-data-based studies, especially for emerging economies, are badly needed to better inform relevant policy on FLW reduction and environmental impacts mitigation.

AB - Food losses and food waste (FLW) have become a global concern in recent years and emerge as a priority in the global and national political agenda (e.g., with Target 12.3 in the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals). A good understanding of the availability and quality of global FLW data is a prerequisite for tracking progress on reduction targets, analyzing environmental impacts, and exploring mitigation strategies for FLW. There has been a growing body of literature on FLW quantification in the past years; however, significant challenges remain, such as data inconsistency and a narrow temporal, geographical, and food supply chain coverage. In this paper, we examined 202 publications which reported FLW data for 84 countries and 52 individual years from 1933 to 2014. We found that most existing publications are conducted for a few industrialized countries (e.g., the United Kingdom and the United States), and over half of them are based only on secondary data, which signals high uncertainties in the existing global FLW database. Despite these uncertainties, existing data indicate that per-capita food waste in the household increases with an increase of per-capita GDP. We believe that more consistent, in-depth, and primary-data-based studies, especially for emerging economies, are badly needed to better inform relevant policy on FLW reduction and environmental impacts mitigation.

U2 - 10.1021/acs.est.7b00401

DO - 10.1021/acs.est.7b00401

M3 - Review

VL - 51

SP - 6618

EP - 6633

JO - Environmental Science & Technology (Washington)

JF - Environmental Science & Technology (Washington)

SN - 0013-936X

IS - 12

ER -