$160 billion. That’s a lot of money. It’s also how much Americans waste in food every year. That’s roughly 30-40% of the food supply in the United States. You might want to think twice about what you throw out when cleaning the refrigerator.
Food waste is the biggest component of landfills according to the USDA. Even worse, when that food rots, it creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and food waste is the third largest source of methane in the U.S.
Studies by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations yielded some jarring results. 1.3 billion tons, or one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption, gets wasted every year. If one-fourth of the food that is wasted globally were saved, it could feed 870 million hungry people all over the world. So why then, with all this information, is food waste still such a big problem?
Reasons for Food Waste
Package dates on foods have been found to be subjective, and not all that accurate. Unfortunately, most consumers abide by these dates and throw away anything past or even close to the expiration or “sell by” dates.
Fruits and vegetables have higher wastage rates than any other food. This is due, in part, because of a culture of expecting aesthetically perfect produce. Slight blemishes, bruises, and discolorations are all some people need to see before throwing out fresh produce unnecessarily. It’s not just consumers that waste it. In fact, much of this blemished produce never makes it to the store and is thrown away long before then.
How Can Refrigeration Help Reduce Food Waste?
One way to reduce both food waste and your foodservice operation’s environmental impact is through the use of proper commercial refrigeration. You can limit food spoilage by storing food products in efficient commercial refrigeration units while maintaining ideal temperatures.