Depending on the year, that could run from 10% to 20%, she said.
Torrey has worked with local food banks to take what “ugly” produce, which is perfectly wholesome but just doesn’t make the grade.
“We feel very committed to helping and improving the health and nutrition of a segment of society,” she said. “It’s our moral obligation to do what’s right.”
But Torrey said growers and shippers also have to look at how to be cost-effective in the packaging and how to make it easy for the packers to divert the unmarketable crop.
“One of the biggest problems has been dedicating floor space,” she said. “Sometimes we have to wait for transportation. But we worked as a team and communicated our concerns.”
Consumers also play a role in reducing waste, Hewett said. In fact, they account for 51% of all food waste that ends up in the landfill.
He said the alliance is exploring public service announcements to help educate consumers about their contributions.
“Consumers need to understand how their behavior affects in just the environment but their own pocketbook,” he said, adding that the average family of four throws away $1,500 worth of food annually.