Food Waste Management Market Expansion Driven by Stringent Regulations, Reaching USD 123.8 Billion by 2033

Tajammul Pangarkar
Tajammul Pangarkar

Updated · Jul 10, 2024

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Introduction

The global food waste management market is on a trajectory of robust growth, anticipated to surge from USD 71.8 billion in 2023 to approximately USD 123.8 billion by 2033, with a CAGR of 5.6% over the forecast period from 2024 to 2033. This growth is largely fueled by increasing global awareness of the environmental impacts of food waste, coupled with stringent governmental regulations aimed at reducing waste across the food supply chain. Additionally, the rising adoption of sustainable practices in food production and consumption contributes significantly to the expansion of this market.

Challenges such as high operational costs of waste management processes and the lack of infrastructure in developing regions, however, impede market growth. Furthermore, the complexity of segregating and treating diverse types of food waste adds to the operational challenges.

Recent developments in the food waste management sector, particularly among leading companies like Veolia, Waste Management, Inc., Advanced Disposal Services, Inc., and Republic Services, Inc., highlight significant movements in acquisitions, innovations, and expansion strategies.

Waste Management, Inc. has significantly expanded its footprint through the acquisition of Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. This $4.6 billion transaction has not only broadened Waste Management’s customer base by integrating 3 million new customers across 16 states in the eastern U.S., but it has also enhanced their capabilities in providing comprehensive waste management services. The integration has been geared towards synergizing operations to achieve cost savings and improve service delivery, projecting annual synergies to exceed $100 million​​​​.

Advanced Disposal Services, Inc., before being acquired by Waste Management, had completed the acquisition of Veolia ES Solid Waste Inc., making it one of the largest transactions in the industry at that time. This move had aimed to consolidate and enhance their waste management capabilities across various regions​​.

Republic Services, Inc. has not been highlighted in recent specific acquisitions or product launches related to food waste management. However, the company consistently focuses on recycling and non-hazardous solid waste for commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential customers, suggesting ongoing enhancements to their services and operational capabilities in line with industry demands.

Food_Waste_Management_Market_By_Size
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Key Takeaways

  • Market Value: The Food Waste Management Market was valued at USD 71.8 billion in 2023, and is expected to reach USD 123.8 billion by 2033, with a CAGR of 5.6%.
  • Waste Type Analysis: Food Production Waste dominated with 20.6%; significant for its volume and impact on waste management.
  • Service Type Analysis: Collection led with 52.4%; crucial for its role in waste management logistics.
  • Source Analysis: Industrial sources dominated with 63.4%; essential due to high waste generation in industrial processes.
  • End-Use Analysis: Animal Feed dominated with 45.8%; important for its role in sustainable waste reuse.
  • Dominant Region: North America held 32.3%; significant due to advanced waste management infrastructure.
  • Analyst Viewpoint: The food waste management market is moderately saturated with strong competition. Future trends indicate growth driven by sustainable practices and regulatory frameworks.
  • Growth Opportunities: Companies can focus on innovative waste reduction technologies and expanding recycling programs to enhance market presence.

Food Waste Management Statistics

  • The food waste generated could feed as many as two billion people, more than twice the number of currently undernourished people.
  • By saving just one quarter of all spoiled food, 870 million undernourished people could be fed.
  • Up to 828 million people were affected by hunger last year, with an upward trend.
  • The World Economic Forum and Ipsos found that 86% of people want to see a significant change towards a more equitable and sustainable world after the pandemic.
  • In 2019, 66 million tons of wasted food was generated in the food retail, food service, and residential sectors in the U.S.
  • Approximately 60% of this waste was sent to landfills.
  • An additional 40 million tons of wasted food was generated in the food and beverage manufacturing and processing sectors.
  • 42.6% of the wasted food from the manufacturing and processing sectors was managed by anaerobic digestion.
  • Food loss and waste items account for 24.1% of all municipal solid waste found within landfills.
  • Rotting food in landfill sites accounts for up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions globally.
  • Eliminating global food waste would save 4.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually, equivalent to taking one in four cars off the road.
  • Eating one less serving of food a day could save 10 million metric tons of food annually.
  • Globally, about 1 billion tons of avoidable food wastage occurs annually from production-to-consumption stages.
  • Total food waste at retail and consumer levels results in 173 billion cubic meters of water used to grow lost or wasted food, representing 24% of all water used for agriculture.
  • 1/3 of all food produced is lost or wasted, which amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes of food, costing the global economy close to $940 billion each year.
  • Global food waste accounts for up to 11.8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In developed countries, the average person creates more than $1,350 worth of food loss and waste each year.
  • 135 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are created by the food that is never eaten in the United States.
  • $166 billion (retail value of preventable waste) is spent on food that is never eaten in the United States.
  • 40% of all food in the United States is wasted.
  • 70% of food waste is perfectly edible.
  • Foodbank’s food and grocery rescue operations saved 86.6 million kilograms of CO2 emissions in 2022.
  • The average Australian household wastes $3,800 worth of food every year.
  • In 2020, Central Michigan University diverted 207.64 tons of organics and placed second in the 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste. A survey showed increased student interest in sustainability, with 500 committing to reduce their footprint.
  • Eat Greener Des Moines’ (EGDM) Operation Fresh Produce Drop began in April 2020, redistributing excess products to pandemic-affected organizations.
  • EGDM distributed over 3,500 boxes of produce weekly through the USDA’s Farm to Families program, moving over 1.31 million pounds of food in 2020.
  • Feeding It Forward increased food recovery by 375% in 2020, recovering over 38 tons compared to eight tons in 2019. Of this, 1,500 pounds fed animals, and 74,500 pounds provided 62,000 meals.
  • Over 240 million slices of bread are discarded every year in the UK.
  • Around 5.9 million glasses of milk are wasted each year in the UK.
  • 5.8 million potatoes go to waste each year in the UK.
  • A staggering 3.1 million slices of cheese are thrown away every day in the UK.
  • Over 1.3 million apples are thrown away each year in the UK.
  • It takes 25 years for a full head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill.

Emerging Trends

  • Increased Focus on Prevention: Efforts to prevent food waste are gaining momentum. Initiatives include better inventory management, improved forecasting, and consumer education on proper storage. Businesses are adopting strategies to minimize waste at the source, ensuring that food never becomes waste in the first place, thus saving resources and reducing costs.
  • Advanced Food Recycling Technologies: Innovative technologies are transforming food waste into valuable products. Examples include converting waste into biogas, compost, or animal feed. These technologies not only reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills but also create sustainable by-products that can be reused, contributing to a circular economy.
  • Enhanced Donation Programs: Donation programs are expanding, enabling surplus food to reach those in need. Businesses are partnering with food banks and non-profits to streamline the donation process. Advanced logistics and technology platforms help track and distribute edible food that would otherwise be discarded, addressing both food waste and food insecurity.
  • Smart Packaging Solutions: Smart packaging is helping reduce food waste by extending shelf life and providing real-time information about food freshness. Technologies such as RFID tags and QR codes allow consumers and retailers to monitor the condition of food products, making it easier to manage and consume them before spoilage.
  • Consumer Awareness Campaigns: There is a growing emphasis on educating consumers about food waste. Campaigns focus on teaching people how to buy, store, and cook food more efficiently. By raising awareness about the environmental and economic impacts of food waste, these initiatives encourage more responsible consumption habits.
  • Policy and Regulation Support: Governments are implementing policies and regulations to reduce food waste. These include setting waste reduction targets, offering incentives for waste management practices, and establishing guidelines for food donation and recycling. Such regulatory frameworks support businesses and individuals in their efforts to minimize food waste and promote sustainability.

Use Cases

  • Composting Programs: Institutions and households can reduce landfill contributions and enrich soil by converting organic waste into compost. Composting programs involve collecting food scraps and other biodegradable materials, which are then processed to produce nutrient-rich soil amendments, supporting sustainable agriculture and reducing methane emissions from landfills.
  • Food Donation Initiatives: Supermarkets, restaurants, and caterers can partner with food banks and charities to donate surplus food that is safe and nutritious but unsellable. These initiatives help in feeding the hungry, reducing the amount of food that goes to waste, and alleviating the environmental impact associated with the production and disposal of excess food.
  • Anaerobic Digestion Facilities: This technology uses microorganisms to break down food waste in the absence of oxygen, producing biogas and digestate. The biogas can be used as a renewable energy source, while the digestate serves as a fertilizer. Anaerobic digestion helps manage waste and produces energy, aligning with sustainable energy goals.
  • Zero-Waste Grocery Stores: Retail models where products are sold without packaging or with reusable packaging help reduce food and packaging waste. Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers, buy exactly the amount they need, and stores often stock local, less processed foods, which supports local economies and lowers waste.
  • Education and Awareness Campaigns: Targeted campaigns can inform the public and businesses about the impacts of food waste and how to reduce it. These might include tips on meal planning, proper food storage, and understanding food labeling. Education drives behavioral change, leading to a reduction in food waste generation.
  • Supply Chain Optimization: Utilizing advanced analytics to forecast demand more accurately can significantly reduce overproduction and overstocking in food industries. By refining inventory requirements, businesses can order and process only as much food as needed, reducing waste and improving profitability.

Key Players Analysis

Veolia Environnement SA has significantly advanced its food waste management efforts with a recent €2 billion contract in Hong Kong. This project aims to process up to 90 million tonnes of non-recyclable waste, capturing methane to reduce CO2 emissions and generating green electricity to meet the site’s energy needs. Veolia reported sales of €45.3 billion in 2023, driven by strong growth in waste management and other core activities, and is on track to achieve ambitious targets for 2024 under its GreenUp strategic plan.

Waste Management, Inc. has been active in the food waste management sector, focusing on enhancing recycling and waste-to-energy processes. The company reported a revenue of $5.07 billion for Q1 2024, reflecting a stable growth trajectory. Recent initiatives include expanding its organic waste recycling programs and investing in advanced waste processing technologies to improve sustainability and reduce landfill dependency. Waste Management’s commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship positions it strongly within the industry.

Advanced Disposal Services, Inc., acquired by Waste Management, Inc. for $4.6 billion in 2020, continues to play a crucial role in the food waste management sector. The acquisition has expanded Waste Management’s reach, allowing the combined entity to serve approximately 3 million new customers across 16 states in the U.S. This move has enhanced their capabilities in providing sustainable waste management and recycling services, aiming for significant cost and capital expenditure synergies exceeding $100 million annually.

Republic Services, Inc. has been actively enhancing its food waste management services. In 2023, Republic Services reported a revenue increase to $13.5 billion, driven by strategic investments in recycling and organic waste processing facilities. Their focus on expanding composting operations and developing advanced technologies for waste conversion positions them as a leader in sustainable waste solutions, catering to the growing demand for efficient food waste management.

Waste Connections, Inc. has significantly expanded its presence in the food waste management market through strategic acquisitions and strong financial performance. In Q1 2024, the company reported a revenue of $2.073 billion, reflecting a 9.1% year-over-year increase, and an adjusted EBITDA of $650.7 million. Notably, Waste Connections completed a $1.075 billion asset acquisition from Secure Energy Services, enhancing its capabilities in waste processing and recycling. These developments position the company for continued growth and increased market share.

Clean Harbors, Inc. has strengthened its role in the food waste management sector by focusing on hazardous waste management and sustainability. In 2023, the company reported a revenue increase to $4.86 billion, driven by its innovative waste-to-energy solutions and advanced recycling programs. Clean Harbors recently launched several initiatives aimed at improving waste processing efficiency and reducing environmental impact, positioning itself as a key player in the market while enhancing its service offerings to industrial and commercial clients.

Stericycle, Inc., a leading provider of regulated waste and compliance services, is set to be acquired by Waste Management, Inc. for $7.2 billion. This strategic acquisition aims to integrate Stericycle’s hazardous medical waste and document shredding services with Waste Management’s comprehensive waste management solutions. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2024 and is projected to generate annual synergies of over $125 million, enhancing earnings and cash flow within a year of completion.

FCC Environment Ltd. continues to advance its position in the food waste management market by expanding its recycling and organic waste processing capabilities. The company focuses on turning food waste into renewable energy and compost, contributing significantly to sustainability efforts. Recently, FCC Environment has enhanced its food waste processing operations in the UK, aiming to increase efficiency and reduce landfill dependency. This aligns with their broader strategy of promoting circular economy practices and improving environmental outcomes.

CT Environmental Group Ltd. has been actively involved in the food waste management market by providing comprehensive solutions for solid waste disposal and treatment. The company focuses on turning food waste into renewable energy sources and other valuable products. Recently, CT Environmental Group has been enhancing its processing capabilities to cater to the growing demand for efficient food waste management solutions in Asia. Their efforts align with broader environmental goals, contributing to sustainable waste management practices and supporting the circular economy.

Recology Inc. continues to be a key player in the food waste management market, focusing on sustainable waste collection and processing solutions. The company has recently expanded its composting facilities, enhancing its ability to convert food waste into valuable resources such as compost and renewable energy. In 2023, Recology reported a revenue increase, driven by the growing demand for sustainable waste management solutions and its innovative approaches to waste processing.

DeIorio’s Foods Inc. actively engages in the food waste management sector by implementing sustainable practices in its manufacturing processes. The company focuses on reducing food waste through efficient production techniques and recycling initiatives. Recently, DeIorio’s Foods reported growth in revenue attributed to these eco-friendly practices and their commitment to minimizing waste. Their efforts include the adoption of advanced waste management technologies, contributing to the overall sustainability goals within the food industry.

Conclusion

The food waste management market is expected to grow substantially in the coming years. This growth is driven by increasing awareness of the environmental impact of food waste and the need for sustainable waste management solutions. Governments and organizations worldwide are implementing regulations and initiatives to reduce food waste, which is further boosting the market.

Advances in waste management technologies and the growing adoption of recycling and composting practices are also contributing to market expansion. Additionally, the rise in global population and urbanization is leading to higher food waste generation, emphasizing the need for effective management systems. Overall, the food waste management market is set to expand significantly, driven by regulatory support, technological advancements, and the urgent need for sustainable practices.

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Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar is a tech blogger that frequently contributes to numerous industry-specific magazines and forums. Tajammul longstanding experience in the fields of mobile technology and industry research is often reflected in his insightful body of work. His interest lies in understanding tech trends, dissecting mobile applications, and in raising a general awareness of technical know-how. When he’s not ruminating about various happenings in the tech world, he can be usually found indulging in his next favorite interest - table tennis.