Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Switzerland

Potato losses in Switzerland from field to fork

This study ascertains potato losses in Switzerland along the value chain from field to fork on the basis of questionnaires. The results show that 41–46% of all processing potatoes and 53–56% of all table potatoes are not eaten by consumers. These losses do not represent a complete waste, however. Threequarters of table-potato losses and 90% of processing-potato losses are used as animal feed. Another 3–8% of potato losses is used to generate energy in biogas plants. Only about 5% of processing potato losses and 28% of table potato losses in total wind up as waste. In addition to harvest surpluses, quality standards exert a strong influence on quantities lost. Over 50% of all losses are due to quality defects in the potatoes. Around one-third of all potatoes with quality defects are rejected owing to their potential harmfulness to human health, whilst two-thirds of these potatoes are rejected because they fail to meet the freshness and quality criteria of trading partners and consumers.

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