About 41 million tons of food was produced in the U.S. in 2017, but it is estimated that 30-40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted. In 2017, this means that around 12-16 million tons of food was wasted. At the same time, 15 million households had difficulty providing food in 2017. Reducing and reallocating food that is currently being wasted can help many people provide for their households.
There are many reasons why food wastage occurs: spoilage during growth, harvesting, and transportation; unsuitable temperatures during storage; retailers throwing out food due to its imperfect appearance; and consumers buying more food than they need and throwing out the excess. In order to address these issues, the EPA created a food recovery hierarchy that shows different methods of recovering food, shown below.
Along with tax incentives to donate produce to food relief networks, adopting models of success stories highlighted on the EPA’s website, and helping organizations such as EGC grow and distribute fresh produce, together we can redirect food to those in need.
Written by Shivani Joshi, Operations Management and Development Intern