Spoilage rate

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In the food industry, the spoilage rate is the proportion of the inventory in the entire food inventory of a company that is not marketed either because the use- by date has expired or because it has become inedible (possibly due to improper storage and / or treatment, e.g. if the prescribed storage temperature is not maintained) becomes.


The spoilage of food is favorable due to natural decay or improper storage process of poor services or Ungenießbarwerdens of food.

As living biological systems, food is exposed to natural processes of deterioration. Depending on their material composition, they differ in their shelf life, which in turn determines the use-by date. The legal basis regulates the food law.

Spoilage rate in a business context

In the industrialized countries, the food retail trade usually guarantees a continuous supply of the individual products in its range. Out-of-stock situations (stock gaps) and the resulting adverse effects, such as B. an inhibition of demand are avoided. On the other hand, overstocking of the products is also undesirable as it increases storage costs and the likelihood of food spoilage. In order to meet customer requirements and to keep the spoilage rate low, good shelf management in the food retail sector and good cooperation between all stages of the supply chain are prerequisites. The spoilage rate can therefore be used as a success factor when evaluating the marketing structures of the food retail sector or the entire supply chain. The cost of spoilage is taken into account when assessing the trading margin and profit.

Influencing factors

Fresh and easily perishable goods, such as food, pose a particular challenge for the food industry. B. milk and dairy products, with which an above-average rate of spoilage is recorded. In addition to the limiting factor of time, maintaining the cold chain plays an important role here. When listing new types of products, retailers have to accept higher spoilage rates, as the actual sales after the introduction is difficult to estimate. Another influencing factor is the company structure or size. Organic food retailers and health food stores, for example, have higher spoilage rates than conventional food retailers due to the small-scale distribution.

Spoilage rate and food shortages

Compared to the industrialized countries, in which the spoilage rate is mainly used to assess marketing structures, this term is even more important in developing countries in connection with the food supply of the population. Here the spoilage rate denotes the proportion of food that

  • favored by natural decay or improper storage,
  • during the processes between production and consumption

becomes bad or inedible. Inadequate storage and preservation methods for food often result in high spoilage rates in developing countries (in some cases over 20% for fruit, vegetables and fish). The FAO has therefore taken the fight against spoilage into account in its work program and sees the reduction of post-harvest losses as an important role in the fight against hunger.

Individual evidence

  1. U. Maid-Kohnert: Lexicon of nutrition. Heidelberg 2002.
  2. HK Biesalski, P. Grimm: Pocket Atlas of Nutrition. Stuttgart 2004.
  3. D. Syring: Determination of efficient ranges in the operative range planning. Berlin 2004.
  4. ^ A b Metro AG: Metro-Handelslexikon 2007/2008. Düsseldorf 2007.
  5. A. Berg: WEZ markets - exemplary. In: Food Practice. No. 24, 12/1998, p. 26.
  6. a b C. Mierau: Home Meal Replacement - The hot counter. In: Cash. No. 1/04, 1/2004, p. 24.
  7. A. Spiller: Internal operational environmental management, part 12: Price policy for organic products using the example of organic food. In: U. Lutz, K. Döttinger, K. Roth (eds.): Operational environmental management. Berlin 2000.
  8. a b W. Schug, J. Leon, HO Gravert: World nutrition: Challenge to crop production and animal husbandry. Darmstadt 1996.
  9. FAO: 1.1 The importance of post-harvest losses on December 3, 2007.


  • K. Barth, M. Hartmann, H. Schröder: Business administration of the trade. Wiesbaden 2002.

Web links

Food law