Food waste costs Saudi Arabia $10.6bn annually

Food waste costs Saudi Arabia $10.6bn annually
Ana analyst said consumption and behavioral economics should be taught in schools. (File/AFP)
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Updated 16 February 2021

Food waste costs Saudi Arabia $10.6bn annually

Food waste costs Saudi Arabia $10.6bn annually
  • Authorities say 300 tons of spoiled products seized in 2020

RIYADH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority revealed that 300 tons of spoiled food products, including vegetables, fruit and other items, were seized in 2020, according to Al Arabiya.

The most prominent violations breached the products’ technical regulations and specifications, the authority said, adding that its Rapid Alerts Center issued 5,424 warnings and reports related to food safety in 2020.

Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, the Kingdom’s environment, water and agriculture minister, has previously said that food waste costs the country SR40 billion ($10.6 billion) annually.

Economic analyst Abdul Rahman Ahmed Al-Jabiri called for consumer awareness to be raised through priorities to change consumption patterns and reduce waste, especially with the growing demand for luxury goods over essential items.

He said consumption and behavioral economics should be taught in schools.

Al-Jabiri said that it is important to reduce food waste in workplaces, with a study by the Saudi National Program to Reduce Food Loss and Waste showing that one-third of lunches were wasted in Saudi Arabia in 2019.

Vegetables account for most of the losses, followed by meat, fruit and rice.

Some families’ expenditure trends reveal a lack of monthly spending plans, as direct purchasing prevails over plans or budgets that specify actual needs, according to Al-Jabiri.

Excess waste increases the burden on family budgets, and better planning of family economic life can improve savings, Al-Jabiri said.