Food Waste Seriti Institute

About the Programme

According to WWF about 10 million tons of food is wasted annually in South Africa. This accounts for a third of the 31 million tonnes that is produced. South Africa is known for being one of the countries that are food insecure and according to Stats SA, 23,6% of South Africans were affected by moderate to severe food insecurity in 2020, whilst almost 14,9% experienced severe food insecurity, yet the food which is produced for human consumption still ends up as waste.

Seriti has partnered with the Southern Africa Food Lab to conduct a study on food loss and waste mapping for the United Nations Development Programme. The project focuses on three specific municipalities which are eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, OR Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape, and Waterberg District Municipality in Limpopo Province.

Food Waste and Food Loss Map

This initiative was created to develop an understanding of the quantities of food lost and food wasted along the food value chain by mapping and analysing the food systems in each municipality. The main objective was to strengthen the capacity of the local government and other stakeholders in implementing food waste recovery and processing solutions, by fostering the establishment of community waste management systems for recovery, processing, and alternative uses. The project also aims to support local businesses to scale and replicate food waste innovations and develop and disseminate knowledge regarding food waste and circularity.

Core Activities

  • Desktop and practical research.

  • Identification, mapping and analysing of food waste streams.

  • Derive a picture of food loss and waste through engagement with the main actors (i.e., abattoirs, retail stores, butcheries, farms, household consumers, mines, and hospitals to name a few) that are involved in loss and waste activities at the stages of the value chain.

Table 1: Measure of impact for actors during each stage of the food waste value stream. This table represents the measure of impact for each actor during each stage of the food waste value stream, in relation to the major food groups. Once again, their impact is measured using a scale of 1 – 5, where 5 represents the biggest impact and 1 represents the least impact.

Although food waste/loss is a global problem, it is important to find strategies to minimize the impacts of food waste in South Africa either by making food that is still edible available to the food insecure or finding ways that can be used for processing and alternative use.

Through various engagements in the food waste project, Seriti got to work with Nthabiseng Kanyane who is part of the Indalo Inclusive food waste entrepreneurs. Nthabiseng turns food waste into organic fertilizer through the process of vermicomposting and supplies the fertilizer to local homeowners and household farmers in her area.

Below are some of the ways that can be explored to reduce food waste/loss:

  • Repurposing of food by drying the products to increase the shelf life.

  • Creating worm tea in the processing of vermicomposting.

  • Creating animal feed that can be sold to livestock farmers.


Food Waste and Food Loss Dumping Vegetables
Learning About Food Waste