This work provides an internationally comparable consumer food waste dataset based on food availability, energy gap and consumer affluence. Such data can be used for constructing meaningful and internationally comparable metrics on food waste, such as those for Sustainable Development Goal 12. The data suggests that consumer food waste follows a linear-log relationship with consumer affluence and starts to emerge when consumers reach a threshold of approximately $6.70/day/capita level of expenditure. These findings also imply that most empirical models overestimate consumption by not accounting for the possibility of food waste in their analysis. The results also show that the most widely cited global estimate of food waste is underestimated by a factor greater than 2 (214 Kcal/day/capita versus 527 Kcal/day/capita). Comparison with estimates of US consumer food waste based on national survey data shows this approach can reasonably reproduce the results without needing extensive data from national surveys.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0228369, hdl.handle.net/1765/124841
Journal PLoS ONE
Citation
van den Bos Verma, M. (Monika), de Vreede, L. (Linda), Achterbosch, T. (Thom), & Rutten, M.M. (Martine M.). (2020). Consumers discard a lot more food than widely believed: Estimates of global food waste using an energy gap approach and affluence elasticity of food waste. PLoS ONE, 15(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228369