Socioeconomic factors of global food loss

Daniel Chrisendo*, Johannes Piipponen, Matias Heino, Matti Kummu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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A considerable amount of food produced is lost globally. Food loss indicates not only the amount of edible food that humans do not consume but also the waste of resources used in production and distribution, linked with multifold problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and economic loss. While there has been a growing body of literature about magnitudes and technical solutions to reduce food loss, little is known about how different socioeconomic factors are potentially related to the losses. Here we assess the relationships between various relevant socioeconomic factors and food loss within the early stages of the food supply chain (i.e., farm, harvest, storage, and transport parts of it) using the most comprehensive data available. We found that factors such as high gross national income (GNI) per capita and high employment in agriculture are significantly associated with low food loss. It suggests that income might be invested in technology or infrastructure while labor is still vital to reduce food loss, especially in technology-inferior countries. Other important factors related to low food loss are access to electricity in rural areas and export volume index, although the significance and directions vary in each commodity and food supply stage. Our results provide valuable insights into socioeconomic factors around food loss that are beneficial to formulating relevant policy, especially in countries where substantial food losses in the early stages of the food supply chain considerably risk to food security.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages18
JournalAgriculture and Food Security
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Food loss
  • Food supply chain
  • Loss reduction
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Sustainable food systems


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