Every year, Swiss potato growers lose about 22 million Euro because of the discard of products that cannot be marketed. To prevent them from being dumped, they feed 100,000 tons of potatoes to their cows. This quantity is equal to one third of the country’s total production.
According to the growers, the production costs amount to 9,000 Euro per hectare for seeds, fertilizers and plant protection products. According to experts, half of those potatoes are 100% edible, but they do not reach the retail network because they are slightly damaged, have green spots or their appearance is otherwise affected.
In turn, traders transfer responsibility to end users. Large chain vendors say that when the potatoes are sold in bulk, customers pick very carefully.
Studies show that the problem does not only affect potatoes. Nearly one-third of food products produced in Switzerland are dumped; a total of 2.3 million tons. 43 percent of them are discarded during production and processing, 12 percent in the wholesale and retail, and 45 percent are disposed of by households.