July 15, 2016
When it comes to food wasted in the U.S., the numbers are astounding and the major reason for it is astonishing. According to government experts and in-the-field reports from farmers and producers, close to half of all produce grown is thrown away. Why?
Because most retailers support a culture of “produce perfection.”
With “downstream” losses, produce that goes bad during packaging, storage, in a fridge, etc., one government tally calculates roughly 60 million pounds of food, or $160 billion, is wasted by consumers and retailers. If there happens to be one bruised apple or a marked squash, retailers often turn away a truck load of freshly grown food or leave it to rot in storage.
Without reducing waste, governments and experts have acknowledged that fighting hunger and climate change cannot be achieved. Food is the biggest component in landfills, and contributes to the rise of methane in the atmosphere, which is more harmful than carbon dioxide.
Some surmise that retailers are solely protecting their bottom line, rather than consumers, because if waste was lowered by 50%, grocery store “profit margins would fall from 1.5% to .7% … and we would lose about $250 million in economic activity.”
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Daniella Soloway