Every Italian family wastes 20 kg of food a year, how to avoid it: the decalogue

Data from the Food Waste Observatory of Crea

Every Italian family wastes an average of almost 20 kg of food a year. It is one of the data from the Food Waste Observatory of Crea, food and nutrition presented by the Italian Society of Human Nutrition (Sinu) at the XLIII national congress. And to combat food waste, Sinu has developed a set of guidelines for more virtuous behaviors ranging from spending planning to reusing leftovers and the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for health but also for savings.

Food waste

In detail, data from the Waste Observatory show that Italians wasted an average of 370 grams of food per week per family in 2018. The figure is in line with what was measured in the Netherlands (365 g/week) and lower than what was observed in Spain (534 g/week), Germany (534 g/week) and Hungary (464 g/week). Looking more deeply into the types of waste, it emerges that, compared to the total of the four European countries, in Italy more completely unused products are thrown away (43.2% against 31% of the amount wasted), while there is a lower propensity to throw away leftovers dish (14.6% against 20%) and also open products, but not finished consuming because they have expired (30.3% against 36%). In 2021 there was an increase in domestic waste which reached 420 grams per week per family.

Who wastes more

Family size and food waste are linked, but looking at the per capita data, we see more waste in single-member families. Furthermore, there is a certain propensity to waste food in the younger age segments and among households with greater financial resources. On the other hand, households’ awareness of the negative impact of waste on various levels is quite high. The economic impact is the most felt (70%), far higher than the social one (consequences on the availability of food in the world, (59%) and the environment (55%).

The decalogue

To encourage virtuous behaviour, the experts indicate 10 points: 1) plan the weekly menu; 2) define the quantities to buy and cook; 3) no to impulse or excess purchases; always go shopping after eating and never on an empty stomach; 5) learn to recognize if a food is still good; 6) learn to read the label; 7) reuse of leftovers; 8) follow the Mediterranean diet; 9) prefer single portions or small portions; 10) educate the new generations.