According to the USDA, food loss and waste in the United States accounts for approximately 31 percent of the overall food supply available to retailers and consumers. Along with the vast amount of resources needed to produce wasted food and the space it takes up in landfills, the dollar amount that food waste is costing retailers and consumers is enormous. In 2010, the United States spent $161.6 billion on food that was never eaten.
Efforts are being made around the world to reduce the amount of food and dollars wasted. Sainsbury, a supermarket chain in the UK recently funded a campaign called ‘Waste Less, Save More’ in which the entire town of Swadlincote, Derbyshire will work to find new ways to cut household food waste in half. This campaign will provide valuable research and new innovative methods of reducing household food waste globally. Already Sainsbury has found that 81% of families surveyed in a study throw out twice as much food each month than they previously estimated.
One of the focuses for the campaign will be to look at the role that food labeling can have on food waste. Expiration date labeling continues to cause confusion in households and can lead to the premature disposal of food. Many times it is the misinterpretation of the wording used for the date labels, examples are “sell by”, “best if used by”, and “best before”. Jen Rustemeyer, producer of ‘Just Eat it: A Food Waste Story’, explains, “Those date labels — especially the 'best before' date — it's really all about peak freshness, it has absolutely nothing to do with safety. And I think people are getting really confused and thinking that's the absolute last moment that they can possibly consume that item, and it's leading to a lot of waste.”
Check out Californians Against Waste’s Pinterest Page for ways you can reduce food waste in your kitchen!
Read more about food waste HERE.