Apple on the ground eaten by ants
It’s up to us to change our habits to make not wasting food a way of life.
Photo:Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Stop Food Loss and waste, for the people, for the panet

Reducing food losses and waste is essential in a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise since 2014, and tons and tons of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day.

Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, while an estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail).

The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is an opportunity to call to action both the public (national or local authorities) and the private sector (businesses and individuals), to prioritise actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste towards restoring and building back better and resilient-ready, food systems.

Check how you can help us through FAO, the leading agency for this International Day, and discover what you can do. Take action, start something. Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet.


Celebrate it with us – 29 September 16:00 -19:30 CEST

Join the global virtual event, where FAO and UNEP experts will share their perspectives on the issues and actions required to stem the problem of food loss and waste. Share your event, download the logo and other social media materials in different languages, check the guide that will help you to spread the message, or just get more information, at FAO's official page for the Observance.

Why is it important to reduce food loss and waste?

Food loss and waste undermine the sustainability of our food systems. When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food - including water, land, energy, labour and capital - go to waste. In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills, leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Food loss and waste can also negatively impact food security and food availability, and contribute to increasing the cost of food.

Our food systems cannot be resilient if they are not sustainable, hence the need to focus on the adoption of integrated approaches designed to reduce food loss and waste. Actions are required globally and locally to maximise the use of the food we produce. The introduction of technologies, innovative solutions (including e-commerce platforms for marketing, retractable mobile food processing systems), new ways of working and good practices to manage food quality and reduce food loss and waste are key to implementing this transformative change.

With nine years left to reach target 1, 2, and 3 of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG), there is an urgent need to accelerate action to reduce food loss and waste.

Did you know?

  • Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail. Significant quantities are also wasted in retail and at the consumption level.
  • An estimated 17 percent of total global food production is wasted (11 percent in households, 5 percent in the food service and 2 percent in retail).
  • Food that is lost and wasted accounts for 38 percent of total energy usage in the global food system.

Food loss course

FAO elearning Academy offers a course about Food Loss Index which will aid countries in reducing food losses along production and supply chains. The lessons cover the index and its components, along with strategies and guidelines for collecting, integrating and modelling the necessary data from a variety of sources.

Garbanzos thrown in the trash

Habits can change. Here are some easy things you can do to be a Food Hero and make not wasting food a way of life.  FAO also offers new ideas to plan a sustainable next holiday by avoiding over-eating and food waste, as well as a poster to print and decorate your fridge to help your family understand our goals. 

International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021

The International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021 (IYFV) aims to raise awareness of the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as promoting policy changes and sharing good practices. Fruits and vegetables also promote balanced diets and healthy lifestyles, and their consumption reduces loss and waste of food. Visit its website and learn more!

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.