Americas Wasted Food: Americans waste 33 percent of their Food

Outrageous; Americans waste 33 percent of their Food


Editor: Vladimir Bajic | Tactical Investor

Americas Wasted Food

Over one-third of all food produced in America goes uneaten each year, with the majority of it ending up in our landfills.1 To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of throwing 320,000 jumbo jets worth of food directly into the landfill each year.2Reducing, reusing, and recycling wasted food and creating an infrastructure that supports these actions across the food supply chain can assist with feeding the estimated 49 million Americans who are food insecure,3 reduce agricultural pressures on the environment, and increase business efficiencies for those producing and selling food.

This report highlights where wasted food can potentially occur throughout the food supply chain, the environmental and economic impact of wasted food, and opportunity areas for registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) to help reduce wasted food within a total infrastructure that has both a business and consumer-facing perspective.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to advancing the practice of nutrition and dietetics and has funded this report to highlight opportunities around improving our current levels of wasted food.  Full Story

Americas Wasted Food Could Feed So Many

In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. This amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on society:

  • Wholesome food that could have helped feed families in need is sent to landfills.
  • Land, water, labor, energy and other inputs are used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food

Food loss occurs for many reasons, with some types of loss—such as spoilage—occurring at every stage of the production and supply chain. Between the farm gate and retail stages, food loss can arise from problems during drying, milling, transporting, or processing that expose food to damage by insects, rodents, birds, moulds, and bacteria. At the retail level, equipment malfunction (such as faulty cold storage), over-ordering, and culling of blemished produce can result in food loss. Consumers also contribute to food loss when they buy or cook more than they need and choose to throw out the extras (See Buzby et al (2014)).

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