What is food waste?
Food waste is a widespread issue with many different causes. For some people, it can be as simple as forgetting to put the leftovers in the refrigerator or not using them before their sell-by date. For others, food waste can be due to buying too much food that is too perishable. Either way, food waste is something that everyone should take into consideration. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 40 percent of all food produced in America ends up in the trash, which is equal to 165 billion dollars of wasted food each year!
How to Reduce Food Waste On-The-Go? Here Are 3 Simple Tips
What is food waste?
Food waste in America is a big problem. One way to combat this issue is by partnering with local food banks and grocery stores and donating your food that would otherwise be thrown away. Another solution would be to compost your food scraps for garden soil. There are so many options for how you can prevent wasting food and give back to the community-- find one that works for you and start helping out!
Food waste in America has increased in recent times. The US Environment Protection Agency estimates that around 206 billion pounds or 103 million tons of food waste were produced in 2018.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) report says that about one-third of food produced for human consumption across the world is wasted per year.
How Much Food is wasted in the United States?
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that around 30-40 percent of food produced in the United States is wasted and thrown away. Unfortunately, many people do not realize how much food is wasted in America. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that more than 33 million tons of food are thrown away by retailers, restaurants, and consumers.
There are several reasons for food waste in America that are essential to understand to cut down on food waste in advance. One of the main reasons is that a large amount of food is thrown away in the trash. Reasons, such as wastage at every stage of food production and food supply chain, over-purchasing, and high standards while purchasing fruits and vegetables result in food waste in the food system. Other reasons include-
- Food waste at homes, grocery stores, and restaurants as unused food is thrown away in the trash
- Crops not fully utilized due to low prices or similar crops available at cheaper rates
- Crops left in fields because of low crop prices or too many of the same crops being available
- Issues during production and transfer of food
- Food not according to retailer standards for appearance or color
Note-: The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that around 30-40 percent of food produced in the country is wasted and thrown away.
Food waste is a huge problem
Tips from Zip Inventory will help you make the most of your restaurant experience
Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.
Impact of Food Loss and Waste
Food loss refers to the loos of food towards the front of the food supply chain during production, post-harvest, and processing. On the other hand, food waste occurs at the end of the food chain, especially at the retail and consumer level.
The impact of food loss and waste is reaching a global level. A report by the UN assessed that about one-third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year. The loss of food is dangerous to our health and the environment. It also causes a lot of people to be hungry, which creates more hunger and even more waste in the future. The main cause of food waste is there is no clear way of making food safe for human consumption and then finding a way to use that food again after it has been produced.
Here is how food waste impacts-
Impact on the Environment-
The impact of food loss and waste in America is one of the biggest. Wasted food is transported to landfills. When the food decomposes in a landfill it results in greenhouse gas emissions that are 28-36 times more dangerous than carbon that is emitted from passenger vehicles.
Landfills represent 8 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions that can be offset by recycling food, composting food scraps, and reducing food waste.
Do You Know-: Landfills represent 8 percent of the total globalgreenhouse gas emissions that can be offset by recycling food, compostingfood scraps, andreducing food waste.
Impact on Global Food Supply-
In America, around 54 million people are food insecure, which refers to a lack of adequate quantity of nutritious and affordable food. On the other hand, about 30-40 percent of the food supply is wasted every year.
Reports suggest that saving just one-fourth of food lost globally would be enough for 870 million people across the world.
Restaurants are expensive, and you don't know where the money is going
Follow Zip Inventory’s guide on reducing food wastage
Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.
Impact on Natural Resources-
Wasting food also means wasting natural resources used to grow this food in the first place. When we waste food, we also waste resources, such as water, physical labor, and energy used for production, packaging, and shipping. Plus, fuel used in the transportation of this food is also wasted. Thus, when food is wasted food, we waste natural resources and labor.
Food Waste Reduction in America
Food waste reduction in America is a long-term process. Americans waste $161 billion worth of food every year. Food losses and waste also decreases the sustainability of the food system. Food loss and waste also lead to wastage of natural resources, such as water, land, capital, and labor used to produce this food. Plus, throwing away food in landfills results in greenhouse gas emissions that, in turn, lead to climate change. Food loss and waste also affect global food availability and security and result in a higher cost of food. We need to take action globally and locally to increase the use of food. Introducing the latest technologies and new methods of working to manage food quality and cut down food loss and waste are essential.
Where is Food Wasted in the Food Chain?
Food waste is a big problem in the United States. Around 40 percent of food produced in the United States goes uneaten, and a lot of that nourishment never makes it to people who need it. About one-third of all food produced in the US is wasted each year. This is both wasteful as well as environmentally unfriendly. While some of this wasted food could go to those who need it most, a lot of it ends up piling up in landfills where the nutrients degrade quickly. What are the solutions for preventing this from happening? Food waste comes at an environmental and economic cost to society- we need to take steps to reduce our impact on this issue or risk future consequences. One way is by understanding what causes us to waste food and how we can best prevent it.
Food Waste in Retail Industry
A report says that approximately 43 billion pounds of food waste were generated in grocery stores in the US in 2010. This food loss mostly includes perishable food items, such as meat, baked goods, meat, prepared meals, and seafood.
According to the USDA, grocery stores and supermarkets generate food losses in unsold fruit and vegetables of $15 billion every year. However, throwing away unsold food is often seen as a good business practice in the retail industry. Food recovery of only 10 percent edible food wasted is possible in the United States.
Restaurants in the United States generate around 22-33 billion pounds of food waste annually. Hospitals, hotels, and schools generate about 7-11 billion pounds of food waste every year. Around 4-10 percent of the food restaurants purchase is wasted even before it reaches consumers. A report says that approximately 17 percent of customers in restaurants leave their meals uneaten. The main reason for food waste in restaurants is partly due to a significant increase in portion sizes in the past 30 years. Portion sizes have increased two to eight times than standard servings suggested by the USFDA. Many inventory solution providers, such as Zipinventory allow restaurants to manage their food inventory, resulting in less food wastage and better inventory management. Zipinventory Features, such as a food inventory spreadsheet, assist restaurants and retailers in tracking their inventory efficiently.
Food Waste in Homes
Food waste in homes is one of the largest in the United States. An estimated 76 billion pounds of food is wasted in households across the United States. On average, a person wastes about 238 pounds of food every year in the US, which costs about $1,800. Fruits and vegetables account for the highest food loss and waste at the household level. Around 19 percent of fruits and 22 percent of vegetables add to food waste annually. Approximately 20 percent of dairy products, 21 percent of meat, and 31 percent of seafood are wasted every year.
Tips To Reduce Food Loss and Waste
When it comes to food waste, the consequences are substantial. Food loss and waste cause hunger in developing countries, greenhouse gas emissions, and land degradation. According to a report by the United Nations, one-third of all food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. Recent studies have shown that global food loss and waste have increased by 50 percent since 1990. Here are some food waste solutions to help build a better future for everyone.
1. Tips for Food Planning
- Consumers can stop food waste by making a list of weekly meals before purchasing groceries to save money and reduce food waste. Consumers can save time and money by buying items required for a week and are more likely to consume fresh and healthy food.
- You can prepare a list of food items frequently used in your household, which allows you to choose and shop for your favorite meals easily.
- Plan your food shopping according to how often you dine out in a week.
- Customers can plan their meals for the week and shop only for products required to prepare those meals.
- Mention the quantity required of food items in the shopping list before buying them to reduce food waste.
- Check your refrigerator and look for food waste solutions to avoid items you already have in your house. Prepare a list of items that need to be used and plan meals accordingly.
- Do not bulk buy and buy exactly the amount required for a week. You will save on bulk buying but may end up with spoilt food before it is used.
2. Tips for Food Storage
- Consumers can overbuy food items that are difficult to store properly, especially fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness. When fruits and vegetables are stored properly, they stay fresh for longer and taste better, reducing food loss and waste.
- Store fruits and vegetables separately in different bins, as several fruits emit natural gases when they ripen that can make other products spoil faster.
- Wash berries and other fruits when you want to eat them to prevent molding.
- You can make manure and compost by food waste recycling.
- Store fruits and vegetables at optimum temperatures in the refrigerator to increase freshness. Only take out from the refrigerator what you will eat in a day.
3. Tips for Food Preparation
- Cook perishable foods soon after you buy them. You can easily prepare other food items and snacks in the week later.
- After you purchase food items from a grocery store, make sure to wash them properly. Once you have washed the fresh fruits and vegetables, dry them and place them in clear storage containers for cooking later.
- Visit your freezer often to check the food items already stored in it. You can freeze bread, fruits, and vegetables and use them later.
- You can reduce your time in the kitchen by freezing already prepared meals that you can defrost and heat when you want to eat them.
- You can also clean and cook perishable items, such as taco meat and chicken breasts, and place them in the freezer and use it later.
Zipinventory Featuresreduce food waste