Food waste is unnecessarily wasted food that could have been used with better meal planning or by preparing or storing food differently. Currently, millions of kilograms of edible food is thrown out across the food chain (10–15% of all produced food). When food is lost, work in primary production goes to waste and emissions generated in the production chain have been for nothing. Food production has an impact on, for example, global warming and biodiversity loss. In addition, food production consumes nutrients, land area, energy, and water resources. Unnecessarily produced food is a burden on both the economy and the environment.
Food waste is generated throughout the food chain, but households are the single biggest contributor as they generate 30% of all waste in the food chain. Finnish households generate an estimated 107 to 137 million kg of food waste every year, about per person. In terms of money wasted, this means that Finnish households throw away
Household food waste is typically due to lack of planning and effort, changes in everyday routines, and increasingly poor kitchen skills. Leftovers go unused and products past ‘best before’ are often treated as if they are expired.
The Finnish food industry also generates a large amount of food loss, up to 75 to 105 million kg or 20% of all food waste in the food chain.