Reducing food loss: What grocery retailers and manufacturers can do

By Moira Borens, Sebastian Gatzer, Clarisse Magnin, and Björn Timelin

Sep 7, 2022

An article of McKinsey


An estimated $600 billion worth of food is lost during or just after harvest. Can manufacturers and grocers do anything about it? Definitely—and it will be good for business, people, and the planet.


It’s a dire statistic: 33 to 40 % of the world’s food is lost or wasted every year. A devastating fact in less desperate times, it takes on even greater urgency today, in light of a looming global food crisis resulting from knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and climate change. Already, one in nine people in the world can’t get enough to eat—that’s more than 800 million suffering from hunger. The consequences of food loss and waste will only get worse. (“Food loss” happens at harvest or soon after, while “food waste” happens after the food reaches the retailer or consumer. See sidebar, “Is food loss the same as food waste?”)


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