Food losses and waste: A needed assessment for future policies

Pilar Campoy-Muñoz, Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, María Del Carmen Delgado*, Ferran Sancho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


About one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. For this reason, food losses and waste has become a key priority within worldwide policy circles. This is a major global issue that not only threatens the viability of a sustainable food system but also generates negative externalities in environmental terms. The avoidance of this forbidding wastage would have a positive economic impact on national economies in terms of resource savings. In this paper we look beyond this somewhat traditional resource savings angle and we shift the focus to explore the distributional consequences of food losses and waste reduction using a resource constrained modeling perspective. The impact due to the behavioral shift of each household is therefore explained by two factors. One is the amount of resources saved when the behavioral shift takes place, whereas the other one has to do with the position of households in the food supply chain. By considering the whole supply chain, instead of the common approach based only in reducing waste by consumers, we enrich the empirical knowledge of this issue and improve the quantification of its economic impact. We examine data for three EU countries that present different economic structures (Germany, Spain and Poland) so as to have a broader and more robust viewpoint of the potential results. We find that distributional effects are different for consumers and producers and also across countries. Our results could be useful for policymakers since they indicate that policies should not be driven merely by the size waste but rather on its position within the food supply chain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11586
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Food waste
  • Linear multiplier models
  • Social accounting matrix


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