Food waste rises again, + 15% in the second year of the pandemic

The data of the Report ‘The Italy Case’ 2022 by Waste Watcher International, released on the occasion of the IX National Day for the Prevention of Food Waste

Food waste in Italian homes is growing again, interrupting a positive trend that started in 2019. We throw in the trash on average 595.3 grams of food per capita per week, or 30.956 kg per year: about 15% more than in 2021 (529 grams weekly). A figure that is accentuated in the South (+ 18% waste compared to the national average) and for families without children (+ 12% compared to the Italian average). Data in contrast with the last two years, as evidenced by the ‘Il Case Italia’ 2022 Report by Waste Watcher International, released on the eve of the 9th National Food Waste Prevention Day (5 February), on the initiative of the Last Minute Market Zero Waste campaign and of the University of Bologna, on Ipsos monitoring.

Total waste of food in our homes is worth 7.37 billion euros: a figure that corresponds to the annual waste of 1,866,000 tons of food. If we also include the food waste of the supply chain – production, distribution, trade – which weighs 5,164,928 tons, we arrive at a national waste of food of almost 10 and a half billion (data from the Department of Agri-food Sciences and Technologies of the University of Bologna on Istat surveys -Waste Watcher for Zero Waste campaign).

“The trend towards a decrease in domestic food waste, which at national and global level plays the lion’s share with an incidence of 60-70% on the field-table supply chain, has significantly interrupted its positive momentum with the return to social life , albeit in distancing and in the delicate coexistence with the virus – explains the agroeconomist Andrea Segrè, founder of the Zero Waste campaign and of the National Food Waste Prevention Day – A setback that is partly explained by the resumption of non-domestic consumption, albeit with all the limitations of the case and partly by the general difficulty of the living conditions of the last year and the disorientation generated by a pandemic that is struggling to loosen up “.

The 2022 Waste Watcher survey explains that in the hit of foods most often wasted fresh fruit stands out (27%), followed by onions, garlic and tubers (17%), fresh bread (16%), vegetables (16%) and salad (15%).

“Italy – continues Segrè – remains the most virtuous nation in the ‘G8’ of waste, which sees the Russians at 672 grams per week, the Spaniards at 836 grams, the British at 949 g, the Germans at 1081 g, the Canadians at 1144 g, the Chinese at 1153 grams and after all the US citizens who ‘self-report’ the waste of 1453 grams of food per week. However, also looking at the type of products we waste (fruit, vegetables, bread … ) it is clear that we still have a long way to go to reduce waste and improve our diet. The main road therefore remains that of a cultural turning point that supports the adoption and replication of good practices in our daily life, from the purchase of food to its management and use. This is why we are relaunching the proposal to put food and environmental education at the center of civic education programs in schools “.

But what are the negative effects of waste according to Italian consumers? At the top, the waste of money, experienced as the most serious aspect by over 8 out of 10 Italians (83%). Then there is the detrimental effect on young people (83%), the intrinsic immorality of food waste (80%) and of resources (78%) and environmental pollution (76%).