Food loss: Why food stays on the farm or off the market

Gregory Astill
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS)
Resource type:
Reports and discussion papers

In this article, the USDA ERS explores the reasons behind unharvested food:

  • Price volatility
  • Labour cost and availability
  • Cold chain infrastructure
  • Aesthetic standards and customer preferences
  • Quality based contracts
  • Policy constraints
  • Challenges to estimating food loss on the farm and in pre-retail stages

The article cites evidence from a peer review report, Economic Drivers of Food loss at the Farm and Pre-retail Sectors: A Look at the Produce Supply Chain in the United States. These results have important implications for public private engagements – collaboration across the value chain can alleviate some of the root causes for unharvested crops.

This resource presents evidence or data but has not been peer reviewed