Significant losses also occur early in the food supply chains in the industrialized regions.  In low-income countries food is lost mostly during the early and middle stages of the food supply chain; much less food is wasted at the consumer level.

The causes of food losses and waste in low-income countries are mainly connected to financial, managerial and technical limitations in harvesting techniques, storage and cooling facilities in difficult climatic conditions, infrastructure, packaging and marketing systems.

The causes of food losses and waste in medium/high-income countries mainly relate to consumer behavior as well as to a lack of coordination between different actors in the supply chain. Farmer-buyer sales agreements may contribute to quantities of farm crops being wasted.