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Food bank: a third of Swiss food ‘goes to waste’

In Switzerland, 133,000 employed persons are affected by poverty, both in terms of income and deprivation. © Keystone / Georgios Kefalas

About a third of the food produced for Swiss consumption went to waste last year, according to the food bank foundation Schweizer Tafel/Table Suisse. That is the equivalent of 2.6 million tonnes of food. Five percent of the losses occurred in the retail trade.

The foundation collected 3,820 tonnes of food that was not for sale but still in perfect condition – a 5.6% increase relative to 2018.

That surplus food was delivered free of charge to around 500 social institutions and food distribution points. In total, the quantity of goods corresponded to over eight million meals for people in need, according to the foundation.

As of December 2001, the Table Suisse project is located in twelve regions of Switzerland, has 36 vehicles and distributes about 16 tons of food every day.

The project was created and organised according to the American model of City HarvestExternal link and Berlin Table (Berliner TafelExternal link).


Poverty threshold

Around 670,000 people are affected by poverty in Switzerland, according to the Federal Statistics Office. Poverty rose from 7.5% to 8.2% of the population between 2016 and 2017, an increase of almost 10%.

In 2018, the poverty line averaged CHF2,293 per month for a single person and 3968CHF per month for a household with two adults and two children.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR