Households in the EU generated 55% of food waste, accounting for 70 kilograms per person, while the remaining 45% was waste generated upwards in the food supply chain.
This data is part of the first EU-wide monitoring of food waste published by Eurostat.
Restaurants and food services accounted for 12 kilograms of food waste per person (9%), while retail and other means of food distribution saw the least amount of food waste (nine kilograms; 7%).
The impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on these two sectors is still being analysed, Eurostat added.
EU Food Waste
At the EU level, the total food waste in 2020 reached approximately 57 million tonnes of fresh mass.
Household food waste represented more than 31 million tonnes of fresh mass.
The second sector in terms of share (18%) was processing and manufacturing, with the amount of measured food waste slightly above 10 million tonnes of fresh mass.
The remaining share, a quarter of the total food waste, was from the primary production sector (six million tonnes, 11% share towards the total amount of food waste), restaurants and food services (more than five million tonnes, 9 % share towards the total) and retail and other distribution of food sectors (more than four million tonnes, 7 % share).
Managing consumer food waste remains a challenge across the EU as well as at a global level, Eurostat noted.
Household food waste is close to twice the amount of food waste arising from primary production and manufacture of food products and beverages (14 kg and 23 kg per person), sectors in which strategies exist for reducing food waste, for instance, the use of discarded items as by-products.