Study: Even Estonian residents throw away almost € 63 million worth of food

Food waste (Foto: © Thorsten Freyer /

Tallinn, Estonia — A new study carried out for the Ministry of the Environment shows that residents of Estonia throw away almost € 63 million worth of food. Around one third of the food thrown away in Estonian households is a loss of food or wasted food which could be avoided by better planning.

„Food waste has been considered mostly a problem of richer countries, but this study shows that though Estonians have a smaller income and consumption capacity, Estonia’s indicators in this area are not far behind of the more developed countries. Quantity of the wasted food per household is not huge, but it equals up to around € 120 per year,“ says Harri Moora, senior expert of SEI Tallinn. „Thus we may generalize that every year Estonian households throw away € 63 million worth of food.“

In addition to households, catering facilities and establishments, for example the caterers of kindergartens, schools and hospitals as well as restaurants, bars, cafés etc. were also focused on during the study. The study results suggest that emergence of the food wastes and losses of food as well as the reasons for it, depend on the type of catering facility, though in a great majority of the catering facilities taking part in the study, the weight of the losses of food was relatively high, making up to 60 percent of the emerged food wastes. This shows that Estonian catering facilities have a potential as well as a need for decreasing the levels of food wastes and losses of food.

Food is being wasted at every level of production and supply chain, from agriculture to consuming. According to the study published by the European Commission in 2010, an estimation of 179 kg of food wastes occur per person every year. The same study reveals that at different levels of the food chain the most of food wastes is produced by households (42 percent), food industry (39 percent) and catering outside households (14 percent). Less waste is produced by trade (5 percent).

Up to now food wastes and especially losses of food had not been specifically studied. By the end of the year, a follow-up study for full details will be completed. The focus will lie on production of food wastes in trade and production companies.

Source: Ministry of the Environmet, Estonia