Italy Tosses Billions in Food Waste

Italians throw away nearly $12 billion of food annually, study says
A recent survey shows Italians throw away billions in food waste every year.

Italy is in the middle of the worst recession since the end of WWII, but according to a new study published this week, Italians are throwing away billions of euros worth of food every year.

According to The Local, in €8.7 billion, or $11.8 billion, was thrown out in 2012, even though 90 percent of people surveyed said they thought food waste was a serious problem in Italy. Among the surveyed Italians, 57 percent said they "almost never" threw food away, while 27 percent said they threw away food less than once a week. Still, it seems unlikely that 16 percent of Italians are to blame for the lion's share of that $11.8 billion worth of wasted food.

The Waste Watchers survey results hold that of the cooked food that was thrown away, 9.1 percent was pasta and 7.9 percent was discarded take-out.

The economic crisis in Italy has caused Italians to cut back dramatically on spending. Consumer spending dropped 2.8 percent in 2012, which was the lowest cutback Italy had seen since 1997.  But most of that cutback came from clothing and household expenses; in spite of making cutbacks in other areas, Italians generally spent the same amount on food as before.

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