A national commitment to recycling saw France named Europe's 'global top performer' in the Food Sustainability Index 2017.
Based on the FSI's three pillars —sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges and food loss and waste— the country scored highest in a detailed ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Of 34 nations included in the comparison Japan, Germany, Spain and Sweden filled completed the top five list.
France wastes only 1.8% of its food production, which the FSI puts down to successive governments proactively addressing the issue on a policy level.
Along with other initiatives combatting food waste in schools and businesses, legislation passed in early 2016 prohibits supermarkets in the country from throwing away food approaching its sell-by-date and instead requires them to donate it to charities or food banks.
By contrast, southern and eastern Mediterranean countries underperformed on the index.
Egypt (27th), Morocco (29th), Tunisia (30th) and Lebanon (31st) were among the lowest-ranked countries surveyed.
Despite their low scores, Israel (15th) and Turkey (16th) were among those placed joint-first for initiatives to recycle water for agricultural use.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said food waste was “unethical and immoral” considering millions go hungry every day.
“We are all responsible, every person and every country,” he said in a statement.