Significant move towards sustainability: waste-less living is rising in Hungary

Project Wasteless has measured the amount of Hungarian household food waste in 2022. The data show a reduction and a significant shift towards sustainability. But there is still room for improvement.

According to the fourth household food waste measurement of the Project Wasteless, 24 kg of food per person is wasted annually. The survey, involving more than 500 households, reveals that meal leftovers, fruits, vegetables, and bakery products arestill the most commonly discarded food waste categories. The most recent data illustrates a 27% reduction in food waste in Hungarian households since 2016, indicating a significant move towards sustainability.

Since 2016, Project Wastelessof the National Food Chain Safety Office of Hungary (Nébih) has been measuring the quantity and distribution of food waste in Hungarian households, following a direct measurement method with food waste diary. The initial data reported a production of 68 kg of total food waste per capita, which was decreased by 12% to 59.9 kg as of the fourth survey in autumn 2022. The avoidable food waste constituted about half of the total food waste in 2016, amounting to 33.1 kg. However, this figure has decreased to 24 kg, indicating a 27% reduction since the start of the programme.

The measurements also exhibit an improvement in categories with the highest wastage. In the bakery product segment, for instance, there has been a substantial reduction, with an almost 60% decrease in annual per capita wastage of bread, rolls, and buns over six years. Ready-to-eat meals also show a remarkable decline, with nearly 25% reduction in this category.

At the current rate of decline, there’s potential to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 by 2030, aiming to halve consumer food waste in Hungary in the category of avoidable food waste. A significant 80% of surveyed households expressed willingness to reduce food waste further, even if only by a small margin.

However, despite improved results, avoidable household food waste remains at 230,000 tonnes per year. It’s critical to recognize that this amount of food could feed 430,000 people for a year, with three meals a day.

Considering current food prices, the average Hungarian citizen wastes around 110 EUR worth of food annually, equating to a collective loss of 1 billion EUR for the entire population.

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