Agricultural production efficiency, food consumption, and food waste in the European countries

Tai Yu Lin, Shih Yung Chiu, Yung ho Chiu, Liang Chun Lu, Kuei Ying Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although previous studies have focused on agricultural production, food consumption has rarely been considered. Food waste needs to be addressed when assessing consumption. In this study, we used a modified undesirable epsilon-based measure, a two-stage data envelopment analysis model, to evaluate the agricultural production and food consumption (food import, consumption, and waste) efficiencies of European countries. The inputs in agricultural production include agricultural fixed assets, agricultural labor areas, and fertilizers. Fertilizer use often results in ammonia emissions, which is an undesirable output that negatively affects the environment. At Stage 1 of the analysis, we evaluated agricultural production and environmental efficiencies in Europe. Because not all foods are produced domestically, food import serves as an input at Stage 2 (food consumption), whereas household food consumption serves as the output; furthermore, food waste is regarded as an undesirable output. At Stage 2 of the analysis, we explored food consumption and waste in Europe. Based on the empirical findings, the overall agricultural production efficiency was poor in most countries. Between the model’s two stages (agricultural production and food consumption), most countries performed better at the latter stage (consumption stage) than at the former stage (production stage). The fertilizer use efficiency scores of 19 countries were smaller than 0.5 at all five-time points. The countries varied considerably in terms of environmental efficiency; only 8 of the total 27 countries performed well in terms of food waste and ammonia emission. Unfortunately, environmental problems associated with food production and consumption are prevalent in most countries. The research results could be an essential reference for the government to promote the development of agriculture through sustainable production and consumption.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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