Global food security index 2014

Global food security index 2014


SPECIAL REPORT: Food loss and its intersection with food security



Food loss and its intersection with food security is a special report that coincides with the third edition of the Global Food Security Index (GFSI), an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study commissioned by DuPont. This report discusses food loss and food waste and their impacts on food security. It explores the global occurrence of food wastage in developing and developed countries and along the food supply chain.


Lucy Hurst, associate director of custom research for the Americas, was the research director for this project. Joshua Grundleger, analyst, was the project manager for the project and co-editor of this special report. Katherine Stewart, research associate, was co-editor of the report. Martin Vieiro, analyst, provided editorial and research support. Leo Abruzzese, global forecasting director and global director of public policy, served as senior adviser. Lolli Duvivier provided editorial support. Mike Kenny was responsible for layout and design. Madeline Baron and Carol Rose Little served as editorial assistants.

Food loss and its intersection with food security

  • Food loss occurs mainly during the early phases of the food supply chain—at the production, post-harvest and processing stages—when food intended for human consumption is destroyed, degraded or otherwise unused. It can negatively impact food security because it is often the result of inefficient uses of supply

chain resources and deficient national infrastructure.


  • Food loss is more of an issue in developing countries given weaknesses in their food supply chains. It constrains food security by reducing the availability of nutritious food.


  • Food waste differs from food loss and occurs during the final stages of the supply chain—distribution and consumption—when food is discarded.


  • Food waste is more common in high-income, developed countries and does not cause food insecurity, but rather is the result of higher food availability and greater food security.


In an annual assessment of global hunger in 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations reported that that “the world produces enough food to feed everyone”, yet at the same time an estimated one in eight people, or some 870m, suffer from chronic undernourishment.


1.At the centre of this gap between production and consumption are food loss and waste, which occur throughout the globe’s countless food supply chains.


Food loss poses tremendous problems for national food systems. At a minimum it represents the wastage of resources, including the land, water, labour and power used to generate food. It also reveals deficiencies within a country’s food supply chain (FSC), which create areas that may be restricting access to food.




Reduced access to food is one of the negative factors for food security. When food supply chains break down and food supplies become less physically or economically accessible, it is often the most vulnerable who are affected. Supply-chain wastage is a pernicious problem, and whether from insufficient storage for wheat or lack of efficient transfer from field to market, food loss indicates structural problems in the agricultural infrastructure necessary for food security.

The many consequences of food loss—whether to food security, the economy or the environment—and its causes vary significantly among regions, stages of the FSC and types of food products that are lost. To better comprehend the impact of food loss on food security, this special report by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) explores how to measure the costs of food loss; it assess where and when losses occur and examines the relationship between food loss and the Global Food Security Index (GFSI).

Preface 2
Food loss and its intersection with food security 3
Measuring food loss and its costs 3
What is food loss? 4
What is happening to our food? The food supply chain 6
Food loss in developing countries 8
Food waste in developed countries 9
Measuring food loss in the GFSI 11
Food loss in the Global Food Security Index 12
Priorities and solutions 13








Publish Date: November 2016

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