How much food is wasted in China

Extreme food waste in China

The great food culture is the pride of the Chinese. The rapid growth of the catering industry also brings with it the problem of food waste. Tens of thousands of tons of food end up in the garbage every day.

"About a quarter of the food is thrown away by the employees every day," said an employee in a Beijing company canteen. According to him, food waste is quite common in his canteen.

In restaurants you notice the waste even more. An employee of a chain restaurant in Beijing said that up to a third of the food is wasted, especially at group meals where people sit around a table and share the dishes. Since most diners have a hard time guessing how many dishes are enough for a group, they tend to order more dishes, the agent said. In this case, they would usually not take the leftovers with them. Given the waste, most restaurants wouldn't interfere too much either.

In 2018, the Institute of Geosciences and Resource Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature, published a "Report on Food Waste in China's Cities". In the study, the research team had 366 restaurants in four representative cities in China from 2012 to 2018 , namely Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Lhasa, are closely followed.

According to the report, the amount of food wasted in Chinese gastronomy was 93 grams per head per meal. Around 11.7 percent of the food ended up in the trash. For example, in 2015 alone, 17 to 18 million tons of food went from the dining table to the trash, as much as the total amount of food that 30 to 50 million people need for a whole year.


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