A report by Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) estimates that 2.6 million tonnes of fresh food is wasted in Switzerland every year.
Two thirds of this is avoidable, meaning that the food is still edible by the time it is discarded.
Food losses occur throughout the chain from food production to purchase. Around 43% of the 1.7 million tonnes of avoidable food waste occurs in the food industry and 28% in private households.
Swiss agriculture wastes close to 225,000 tonnes of fresh food annually. 200,000 tonnes of this could be avoided saving the industry CHF 600 million a year, says the report.
Total food waste across all sectors of the food industry is around 950,000 tonnes a year. Around 25% of this is unavoidable and made up of inedible peels and bones. However around 715,000 tonnes of the total could be avoided. The two main reasons for waste are the lack of demand for by-products such as bran, and food losses from current technology.
The Swiss retail and wholesale trades generate around 100,000 tonnes of food waste each year. Around 95% of this could be avoided. Most of the waste is unsold food resulting from oversupply, storage problems and poor warehouse and distribution planning. Switzerland’s main retailers lose over half a billion francs per year to food waste.
The largest percentage of food waste in catering occurs in cafés, restaurants and hotel kitchens, which produce 290,000 tonnes of food waste a year. Up to 200,000 tonnes of this could be avoided, according to the report.
Swiss households generate around one million tonnes of food waste every year. Almost half of this total food waste is avoidable.
The environmental impact of food waste varies greatly. Products with the highest environmental impact include beef, coffee and cocoa, butter, other meat, fish, cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, citrus fruits, bananas, grapes and products imported by air. So wasting these is worse.