About 17 mln tons of food is thrown out in Russia annually: TIARCENTER published the results of the food sharing in Russia research
17 mln tons of food waste is generated in Russia annually at the stage of storage, retail and consumption. This is about 28% of MSW. Almost the entire amount of food waste (94%) goes to landfills and landfills, where it pollutes the soil, water, and air. The 17 mln tons of food waste annually emits about 2.4 mln tons of methane, a strong greenhouse agent.
Food waste is a huge financial loss. The research estimates the cost of annually thrown food at RUB 1.64 trln. 17 mln tons of food would be enough to feed 30 mln people during the year. This significantly exceeds the number of Russians with incomes below the subsistence level (20.9 mln people).
The development of the food sharing model is fully consistent with the UN sustainable development goals and has three benefits to society.
- Saved products are given to people who are interested in them, including those in need.
- Rationally used natural and labor resources (involving fewer resources, you can feed more people).
- Food waste is reduced.
In 2018, about 7 thousand tons of food were saved in Russia thanks to food sharing. According to RAEC and TIARCENTER estimates, this volume can grow to 1 mln tons by 2024. Three key components are needed to realize the potential of food processing in Russia.
- Comfortable government regulation related to determining the status of products for food sharing and its taxation. The research provides a map of regulatory barriers to the development of online food distribution services.
- The development of technological platforms that ensure rapid growth in the number of participants and mobility in the distribution of food. During 2018–2019 In Russia, several food-sharing startups (EatyEat, Food Hide, Alisok) appeared; some managed to attract the first investments.
- The focus of the business working with food products on their most efficient use. Today, large retail chains and food producers (including X5 Retail Group, PepsiCo, Danone, Cargill, etc.) cooperate with charitable organizations that distribute food to those in need (the largest of them, Foodbank Rus, saves about 4.6 thousand tons per year). However, the distribution of food is less than a tenth of a percent of products with an expiring shelf life.
The further development of food sharing in Russia and the achievement of 1 mln tons of saved food annually is an opportunity to provide food for about 1.3 mln needy Russians, prevent the release of 143 thousand tons of methane, and also do business on food products with an expiring shelf life, the total cost which exceeds RUB 85 bln.