A person scraping food waste from a plate

How much food is wasted in Scotland?

28 Feb 23

Report establishes baseline figure for measuring food and drink waste reduction in Scotland. 

Our report ‘How much food waste is there in Scotland?’ published in November 2016 provides the best insight to date as to the true scale of food and drink waste.

In 2013, an estimated 987,890 tonnes of food and drink in Scotland was wasted with the breakdown as follows:

  • Household (solid and liquid waste) – 598,946 tonnes (60.6%)
  • Food and drink manufacturing – 248,230 tonnes (25.1%)
  • Other sectors – 140,714 tonnes (14.2%)

The 987,890 tonnes is taken from the Updated Scottish Baseline Technical Note and supersedes the previous estimates.  It covers all quantifiable food and drink waste in Scotland and provides a baseline for the Scottish Government’s flagship target to reduce all food waste arising in Scotland by 33% by 2025. Food losses incurred in primary production are currently excluded from the baseline figures.

The report shows that just under half of food waste comes from households, with the majority arising from industry and commercial enterprise. It highlights the need to work with business to reduce food waste from farm to fork.

It expands on previous work quantifying household food waste, in order to estimate, for the first time, waste across all sectors of the Scottish economy.

Alongside the baseline, we have published the report ‘Household food and drink waste estimates 2014’. This provides an update on work to reduce household food waste and shows a positive reduction of 5.7% in household food waste between 2009 and 2014, which resulted in savings to household budgets of £92 million.