Abundance of produce displays adding to food waste? Read on - The Packer

Abundance of produce displays adding to food waste? Read on

08/23/2012 04:35:00 AM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom KarstAmericans haven't quite picked up on the wisdom of waste not, want not.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Aug. 20 issued updated food availability (per capita consumption)  numbers for various food groups.The data includes preliminary loss-adjusted per capita data through 2010.

The USDA's "loss-adjusted" food availability is of particular note, and the topic of the data  relates to a recent report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council headlined "America trashes forty percent of food supply." The 26-page issue paper can be found here

From the press release:

NRDC’s issue brief – Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm To Fork to Landfill – analyzes the latest case studies and government data on the causes and extent of food losses at every level of the U.S. food supply chain. It also provides examples and recommendations for reducing this waste. Key findings include: 

  • Americans trash 40 percent of our food supply every year, valued at about $165 billion;
  • The average American family of four ends up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food;
  • Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. landfills;
  • Just a 15 percent reduction in losses in the U.S. food supply would save enough food to feed 25 million Americans annually;
  • There has been a 50 percent jump in U.S. food waste since the 1970s.

The causes of losses in our food system are complex, but there are notable problem areas. At the retail level, grocery stores and other sellers are losing as much as $15 billion annually in unsold fruits and vegetables alone, with about half of the nationwide supply going uneaten. In fact, fresh produce is lost more than any other food product — including seafood, meat, grains and dairy — at nearly every stage in the supply chain. Some of this is avoidable. For instance, retailers can stop the practice of unnecessary abundance in their produce displays, which inherently leads to food spoilage.

So the unnecessary abundance of produce displays is one of the problems? I've never heard that one before.

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Netherlands  |  August, 23, 2012 at 07:22 AM

And what do you think about the portions you get in a US restaurant.. I am a frequent visitor into the USA, and I am still amazed on what kind of food is beeing plated in every restaurant. I must be honest, I love your food and the big steaks :-) But at the end of my meal, I always think, Wauw what a waste....

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