Another step towards sustainability: Hungarian households waste less and less food

By: STA Date: 2023. 09. 29. 09:00

We waste 24 kg of food per person every year, according to the fourth waste survey carried out by the National Food Chain Safety Office (Nébih). The results of the survey, which took place in a record number of more than 500 households, show that food scraps, vegetables and fruits, as well as baked goods continue to be thrown unnecessarily into the trash. Based on the latest data, Hungarian households have taken another significant step towards sustainability, as food waste has decreased by 27% since 2016.

(Photo: Pixabay)

Since 2016, Nébih’s No Leftovers program has been assessing – based on EU methodology – the amount of food waste and its distribution in Hungarian households. The first data showed a “production” of 68 kg of food waste per capita, which has since decreased by 12%, to 59.9 kg, according to the fourth survey in the fall of 2022. The actual waste in 2016 was about half of all food waste: 33.1 kg. The amount of food thrown away unnecessarily has decreased to 24 kg since the start of the program, which represents a 27% reduction.

The measurements also show an improvement in the food categories with the largest amount of waste

The reduction in bakery products is significant: in 6 years, it was possible to reduce the annual waste per capita by almost 60% in the case of bread, muffins and buns. According to the results, Hungarians also deal with ready-made meals more consciously, because in this category as well, a significant amount, almost 25%, was cut from waste. However, despite the improved results, prepared foods still lead the top list of the most wasted food (10.06 kg/person/year), followed by fresh vegetables and fruits (4.53 kg/person/year), baked goods (2, 72 kg/person/year), followed by dairy products (2.10 kg/person/year). Approaching September 29, the international day for awareness of food loss and waste, it is especially good news that Hungarians are increasingly aware of food. By 2030, by maintaining the current rate of reduction, we can reach the sustainable development goal 12.3 of the United Nations (UN): consumer food waste in Hungary would be halved. The fact that 80% of the households participating in the survey stated that they would be able to reduce the amount of food they throw away is a reason for confidence. All of this is expected to be influenced by inflation.

However, the total food waste of domestic households is still 230,000 tons per year

It is important to be aware that 430,000 people could be satisfied with this amount of food for a year, assuming 3 generous meals a day. That is why continuous education is extremely important, in which the interfaces of the Nébih Maradék sélen program (website, Facebook, Instagram) also help.

Additional points of interest:

  • Globally, household food waste is responsible for 50-60% of food loss in the entire food chain (Eurostat, 2022).
  • According to the survey, the cause of the waste can most often be traced back to inattention and inadequate planning. For example, household members forgot about food or bought too much or cooked, which spoiled it.
  • 25% of the food waste generated in households was composted. There is room for further improvement in the environmentally friendly treatment of food waste, as half of all food waste can be composted.
  • With current food prices, an average Hungarian citizen wastes HUF 40,000 worth of food every year, which represents a loss of more than HUF 380 billion at the level of the entire population. With previous consumer habits, i.e. at the level of waste in 2016, the per capita loss resulting from waste would be HUF 55,000. Therefore, an average Hungarian citizen saved an average of HUF 15,000 per capita by more conscious shopping, food preparation and storage, which amounts to more than HUF 140 billion in total.


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