Eurostat’s latest report is available, which shows that almost 57 million tonnes of food (127 kg per capita) is wasted through the whole food chain in a year. Households account for 55% of this waste: the average EU citizen throws away 70 kg of food every year. With 66 kg of food waste per capita per year in Hungarian households, Hungary is one of the less wasteful countries compared to the average.
From this year, EU Member States are obliged to provide data on the amount of food waste generated in their countries. The annual report includes data from the five major levels of the food chain: primary production, processing, retail, catering and households. The recently published data reporting the food waste status of 2020 is particularly important as it is setting the benchmark, which serves as a basis to compare the targets set to reach by 2030 (to halve the amount of food waste generated by households and trade by 2030).
Statistics show that a Hungarian person throws away around 66 kg of food in their home each year, which is less than the EU average. The source of the Hungarian household food waste data is based on the research of the National Food Chain Safety Office’s (Nébih) food waste prevention programme, called Project Wasteless, which has been tracking food waste since 2016. So far, the team of Project Wasteless has carried out 3 food waste surveys in Hungary. The first data, from 2016, showed a food waste “production” of 68 kg/person/year, of which 33.1 kg was actual waste*. According to the 2021 results, the latter, i.e. the avaoidable wastage rate, has decreased to 25.2 kg/capita/year. The latest survey is currently underway, with more than ever before, involving around 500 households, and the results will be available next year.
Through Project Wasteless, Nébih not only monitors the amount of food waste, but also helps households to reduce it, including through information and educational materials.
* Food waste is defined as any food or food ingredients that are not consumed by humans for any reason. These include so-called unavoidable (e.g. bones, coffee grounds, eggshells) and avoidable (e.g. expired, spoiled due to improper storage) wastes. Avoidable food waste is defined as products in the latter category that are wasted solely through human inattention.