In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, around 127 kg of food per inhabitant were wasted in the EU. Households generated 55% of food waste, accounting for 70 kg per inhabitant. The remaining 45% was waste generated upwards in the food supply chain, according to the first EU-wide monitoring of food waste published by Eurostat.
Tackling consumer food waste remains a challenge both in the EU and globally. Household food waste is nearly twice the amount of food waste arising from the sectors of primary production and manufacture of food products and beverages (14 kg and 23 kg per inhabitant; 11% and 18%, respectively), sectors in which strategies exist for reducing food waste, for instance with the use of discarded parts as by-products.
Restaurants and food services accounted for 12 kg of food waste per person (9%), while retail and other distribution of food was the sector with the least amount of food waste (9 kg; 7%); however, the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on these two sectors is still being analysed.