Basic definitions

Food – Any substance—whether processed, semi-processed, or raw—that is intended for human consumption or we can expect people to consume.

Food wastage – Food wastage refers to any food lost by deterioration or waste. Thus, the term “wastage” encompasses both food loss and food waste.” (FAO, 2013)

Edible parts of food – components associated with a food, in its fresh mass status, that are usually consumed by human, either as is or after processing or cooking. The definition of edible parts of food might differ from country to country, or from region to region, according to local culture and habits

Inedible parts of food – inedible parts, where those were not separated as by products from the edible parts when the food was produced (including all the stages of production, processing and distribution), such as bones attached to meat destined for human consumption, orange peels, seeds… In concordance the definition of inedible food depend on the culture and habits of the consumer.

Difference between food waste and food loss

Food loss refers to any food that is discarded, incinerated or otherwise disposed of along the food supply chain from harvest/slaughter/catch up to, but excluding, the retail level, and is not used for any other productive use, such as animal feed or seed.

Food waste refers to food that is discarded at the level of retailers, food service providers and consumers. Food is wasted in many ways, for example

  • Fresh produce that deviates from what is considered optimal (e.g. size, shape or colour) and is removed during sorting actions
  • Foods that are discarded by retailers or consumers when it’s close to or beyond the best before date.
  • Unused or leftover food that is thrown out from households or restaurants.