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Closing the Food Waste Gap

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Closing the Food Waste Gap

Boston Consulting Group,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Which is more expensive – action or inaction? When it comes to the food waste crisis, inaction comes at a high price.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Visionary
  • Engaging


There are no simple answers to climate change, war, disease and global inequality. Or rather, these are intractable problems that no individual could reasonably hope to solve. But the global problem of food waste is a little different. With food waste, the course of action is mostly clear. Individuals can implement simple protocols to mitigate food waste. Businesses can do even more. In this report, the Boston Consulting Group shows how simple solutions could have an outsized effect on a serious global problem.


Nearly one-third of all food is lost or wasted rather than eaten. Out of 10,000,000 apples, that’s 3,400,000 that never get eaten.

Of 10,000,000 potential apples, around 13% are lost in production, leaving 8.7 million. Next, about 6% never make it past handling, storage and transportation. During processing and packaging operations, another 1% are lost, and another 6% disappear during distribution and retail. About 8% are wasted by the consumer who bought them. Added up, that’s 3,400,000 apples that fail to achieve their intended purpose. That’s just apples, but in 2030, it’s estimated that around the globe, 2.1 billion tons of food will be wasted or lost. If food waste were a country, it would make it into the top 7% of GDPs.

In lower-income countries, most of the loss occurs during transportation or production. This is considered food loss. In higher-income countries, food is more likely to ...

About the Author

The Boston Consulting Group is a global management consulting firm with offices in 50 countries throughout the world. It was founded in 1963.

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