About the report
The National Food Waste and Rescue Report for 2019 is being published for the fifth consecutive year by Leket Israel, in partnership – for the first time – with Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. The report is intended to serve as the foundation for public discourse on the problem of food waste, and as a tool for developing national policy measures to change how food waste and rescue are handled in Israel.
This report is based on data for 2019, prior to the COVID-19 crisis. However, economic data shows that the economic consequences of the crisis include increased unemployment and less disposable household income, which are likely to exacerbate food insecurity in Israel. This worrisome data highlights the importance of food rescue policy, as a socio-economic tool that facilitates both rescuing food for one-third of its cost, and substantially reducing the use of natural resources.
Estimates in the report reveal that in Israel in 2019, 2.5 billion tons of food, worth NIS 20.3 billion, was wasted, meaning that approximately 35% of domestic food production was lost. Of this amount, approximately 1.2 million tons, worth NIS 7.1 billion, was rescuable.
For the first time, the report includes a detailed model for estimating the environmental impact of food waste. The total environmental cost of food waste in Israel is NIS 3.2 billion, of which NIS 1.4 billion is the cost of natural resources (water and land); NIS 1 billion encompasses greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions; and NIS 800 million is for waste treatment. Moreover, 6% of the greenhouse gases in Israel originate in food loss. Food waste (including packaging) accounts for about 35% of the total urban waste in Israel.
This report is based on an economic model for the food industry developed by BDO. It includes comprehensive, detailed research on the extent of food waste of all types in Israel. Furthermore, the report reveals the potential for food rescue at each stage of the value chain in the food production process.
The findings presented herein indicate that food rescue is extremely beneficial from economic, social, and environmental perspectives. Every shekel invested in food rescue produces food with a direct value of NIS 3.6. If the environmental impact of food rescue is considered, the economic value of each shekel invested in food rescue creates NIS 4.2 in value for the national economy.
The problem of food waste is not limited to Israel; the extent of food waste in Israel is similar to that in other developed nations around the world. Many other countries have enacted legislation and developed national, multi-year goals and programs to encourage food rescue and to reduce waste. In October 2018, the Israeli Parliament passed the Food Donation Act, a first step towards developing a comprehensive national food-rescue plan.
It is our hope that this partnership will be an additional step towards encouraging the Israeli government to promote this issue and to advance an economic, social, and environmental solution to the problem of food waste in Israel.