Food Sustainability Index ranks countries on food waste

Posted: 27 January 2022 | | No comments yet

The 2021 Food Sustainability Index, which assesses the food-system sustainability of numerous countries, has been released, with Japan and Sweden excelling in key categories.


Produced by Economist Impact with the support of the Barilla Foundation, the Food Sustainability Index (FSI) 2021 assesses the food-system sustainability of 78 countries according to three pillars: food loss and waste, sustainable agriculture, and nutritional challenges. The 2021 edition is the fourth edition of the FSI, and it places Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland and Austria at the top, as having the most sustainable food systems in the world.

Despite food waste being a global issue, just 28 percent of countries in the entire FSI have a dedicated food waste strategy. According to the FSI, within the food loss and waste pillar, the top five performing countries include Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.

According to Economist Impact, there continues to be major gaps in policy to build sustainable agricultural systems in countries around the world. Less than 50 percent of all countries in the FSI are mainstreaming climate change into their agricultural policies and only 36 percent are prioritising agriculture in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The FSI shows that countries performing best in the sustainable agriculture pillar include Finland, Estonia, Austria, Tanzania and Sweden.

Finally, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, France and China are the top five performing countries for nutritional challenges, according to the index. This pillar highlights the important differences between the nutritional challenges faced by high-income countries compared to middle-to-low income countries: in the former, overconsumption and overweight are key issues, while in the latter, undernourishment and non-communicable diseases (NCD) mortality rates are high.

“The results of the 2021 Food Sustainability Index highlight that countries around the world still have a lot to do to tackle key food systems challenges”, said Martin Koehring, Senior Manager at Economist Impact.

“Our research shows that efforts to tackle food sustainability sit alongside efforts to address key social and economic objectives such as human development, sustainable development, gender equality, health spending and support for innovation. As the world continues to act on pressing climate targets, embrace a food systems agenda, all whilst we continue to overcome the effects of Covid-19, the Food Sustainability Index highlights best practices that world leaders can adopt towards more sustainable food systems.”