NIS 4.8 billion
Potential Savings for the National Economy
Based on these multipliers, the cost of rescuing NIS 3.2 billion worth of food (38) would be only NIS 880 million. This is equivalent to the full value of the gap in spending on food consumption by the population suffering from food insecurity in relation to the normative level of consumption.
Food Rescue: Summary of Estimated Savings to the National Economy (NIS millions/year)
However, food rescue offers a unique set of circumstances in which there is a clear economic preference for supporting the needy with products over money. This advantage stems from the specific characteristics involved in transforming waste into food (i.e., that every shekel invested in food rescue generates a direct economic value 3.6 higher than the cost). Moreover, taking into consideration the environmental impact of GHG, air pollutant emissions, and waste treatment, the benefit to the economy increases further to 4.2 times its cost.
In this context, it should be noted that those suffering from food insecurity also suffer from financial insecurity, evident in consumption gaps of other basic necessities (housing, health, education, etc.). It is reasonable to assume that food rescue would enable households to then choose to allocate some of the effective increase in their disposable income to consuming other goods. From a social perspective, these households view consumption of such products as prerequisites for ensuring their financial security. Therefore, beyond the direct value of the rescued food distributed to them, they also benefit from having more resources available to purchase other goods and services.
In September 2015, the United Nations and US government, in the context of sustainable development (SDG) goals (39), established a national food waste reduction goal of 50% within fifteen years. Analysis of the data in this report shows that rescuing even less than half of that goal, and contributing it to the approximately 465,000 households suffering from food insecurity in Israel, would provide enough food equivalent to fully cover the gap in their food intake compared to the normative level. For the national economy, such efforts would generate a value of NIS 2.3 billion annually, bridging the gap between the value of rescued food and food rescue costs. This is even before considering the added benefits to the national economy from reducing poverty and inequality, and before factoring in the external environmental benefits.