Approximately 30%-40% of the total U.S. food supply is wasted or lost every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food waste occurs at every step of the value chain – including producing, processing, retailing, and consuming. Causes include problems during transportation, processing, or storage that expose crops to insects in or moisture damage, equipment malfunctions that result
in spoilage, blemished produce that won’t sell at the grocery store, or extra, uneaten food that goes bad in home refrigerators.
Wasting less food is not only good for the planet, it’s also good for the wallet – when you eat everything you have instead of throwing food away, you save money by taking fewer trips to the grocery store.
More than 30% of all food loss takes place at the retail and consumer level, so consumers have a large role to play when it comes to eliminating waste and making sure that food stays out of landfills.
Tips to Avoid Food Waste:
Buy only what you need: Planning meals ahead of time can prevent overbuying.
Store food properly: Pay attention to storage instructions and expiration labels, so that you can eat the most perishable products first.
Don’t be afraid of “ugly” fruit and vegetables: Bruised or oddly shaped produce still tastes the same. Consider using “ugly” produce for smoothies, juices, or soups.
Use your leftovers: If you don’t eat everything, freeze it or use it to make other meals.
Buy local: If you have the opportunity, consider buying local produce from farmers’ markets or other vendors. This supports small businesses and cuts down on food transportation costs.
Get creative: Consider composting food scraps, donating excess food to food banks, or taking up a new hobby such as canning, pickling, or drying to make food last longer.