Trends Curbing Food Waste


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Trends Curbing Food Waste

  1. 1. Beau Becker Curbing Food Waste Beau Becker Hosp & Tsm Marketing & Sales-FA12-002-2861 Trends Paper 11/16/2012 1
  2. 2. Beau BeckerSection 1 Billions and Billions of food is wasted each year annually. Loss and wastage occurs onall steps in the food supply chain. In low-income countries, most loss occurs during production,while in developed countries much food is wasted at the consumption stage. “In the UnitedStates today, about 40 percent of all food goes uneaten. Each year Americans are throwing awaythe equivalent of $165 billion in uneaten food, making food the single largest component of solidwaste in our landfills. This costs the average family of four between $1,350 and $2,275annually.” Much of our food supplies end up in landfills and at the same time it can be seen in manyother developed countries. This time and stage more and more people are buying more and morefood, leaving the untouched, unfinished, neglected, or wasted. Everyone wastes food, but foreach individual it is a matter of volume and frequency. For every discarded milk carton and pastdate leftovers that may hide in the back of the fridge, there is a loaf of bread absent mindedly leftin the trunk of a car, or a few pounds of chicken fallen a few light shades of pink and turned outto the garbage in a flash. Virtually every family and every individual in the United Statesdiscards a fair percentage of their food; whether it has spoiled, or is just too much to consume.Many people don‟t know but this is a pathway towards an overwhelming consumption problem. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture‟s Food Loss Project, “Americans areinclined to discard more than 40 %( of all the food produced domestically (some estimates aresignificantly higher).”Consumption doesn‟t stop at the garbage bin. The tragedy is once all ofthis decomposing food hits the landfill whether it is contained in plastic or not, it continuesbreaking down and creating large amounts of methane gas, which can be bad.However, while wemay never become a zero-waste society, recent progresses have gone on to help to curb the foodwaste problem. For example community composting, dumpster diving, food recoveryorganizations, ignoring expiration dates, food technology, and sustainability programs have beenin place, and will hopefully continue to make an impact on that large amount of food wasted. Ifmotivated enough to cut our food waste in half we would likely extend the lifespan of landfillsby decades and reduce soil depletion and the application of untold tons of fertilizers, pesticidesand herbicides, but this requires cleaning our plate in a radically different way. In addition to the issue of methane gas, wasted food represents a real loss of preciousresources. In particular, the large amounts of oil and water used to create our food go for nothingwhen we waste as much as we do. Two percent of all US energy consumption goes to producingthe food that we subsequently discard. “Food waste represents a $240 billion annual loss on anational level. So trimming your household waste can amount to saving more and more for theaverage person or family.”It‟s shameful to waste nearly half of our food when more Americansthan ever before are food insecure. It‟s all the more disgraceful considering that we throw outenough food to feed all of the world‟s hungry. The problem starts long before food reaches the plate. “At the retail level, grocery storesand other food sellers lose up to $15 billion annually in unsold fruit and vegetables alone.Restaurants and household kitchens are also contributors.” Huge portion sizes and peopleavoiding the use of leftovers also contribute to a problem that has worsened throughout the years. 2
  3. 3. Beau BeckerResearch shows that rotting food, contributes to global emissions that contribute to climatechange. “The Natural Resources Defense Council recommends that the U.S. government conducta thorough study of food system losses and set national goals for waste reduction, suggesting thatbusinesses should streamline their operations to reduce food losses.” So consumers should gainmore knowledge on how to shop better. Many Countries are adopting a resolution to reduce foodwaste by 50 percent by 2020. Europe designated to have one by 2014 as the “European yearagainst food waste.”So we should start cleaning our plates or putting less food on it. Thedemands placed on our food shelves are heavy as families struggle in a tough economicenvironment. Yes, this is an issue thats rich with irony. While telling people that they shouldclean their plates and not waste food, were also a nation that puts too much food on those platesin the first place. We struggle to educate people about the health dangers associated with eatingtoo many calories, yet a growing percentage of our population faces a daily battle with hunger. Food is lost all over the place for example, during processing and distribution, in retailstores and restaurants, our homes, and on the farms. There are many reasons this is happening.For Farms, crops can be left on the field to long, because the price is too low at the time ofharvest to make up for the costs of labor to harvest. Inventory gets left over at distributioncenters all of the time which causes problems for many. Stores often purchase to much producein the hopes that having more will create an illusion for their customers to buy more. With all ofthe huge portions out there that aren‟t the normal serving sizes the government recommends andrestaurants having extreme amount of items on their menu much of the food there having isgoing to waste.Then there are consumers. You and me, tossing away half are food simplybecause we don‟t feel like carrying it home. We all have a role to play and that‟s curbing arefood waste.Section 2 The Korean government decided In order to keep streets clean and landfills less crowdedto come up with a new strategy to charge both residents and businesses for the food they discard.This measure is perfect because it will prevent people from throwing away perfectly edibleproducts. With most of the food supplies ending up in landfills all around the United Statesthesame situation can be spotted in most of the developed countries. Surprisingly, the percentage ismuch similarto the one displayed by Korea. This kind of behavior is very irresponsible. Peopleare shopping way too much, just don‟t care, and waste allot at all you can eatplaces promoted byrestaurants.The smart high-tech food waste bins designed by “SK Telecom” are expected toprovide a solution to help people with waste. They weight the amount of trash with maximumprecision, letting residents know how wasteful they really are. “Due to innovative radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology, the bins, equipped with card readers, can alsoestablish the value of the disposal fee, paid by Koreans using a credit card or their publictransportation card. After installing the RFID bins, authorities hope to reduce food waste by upto 20% over the next years.” The things people eat today appear to be hard to handle. So thegovernment is forced to make some changes. According to a disturbing prediction,” 50 millionKoreans will generate 170,000 tons of trash, by not eating everything they have purchased duringa single day. So far, trash has been properly processed by sewage plants, but this path will nolonger be exploited in the near future. Since landfill space appears to be insufficient, new greentechnologies are expected to solve the problem by 2013.” 3
  4. 4. Beau Becker “Use by” and “best by” dates, commonly found on both nonperishable and perishableproducts, are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. They do not indicate food safety, as iscommonly believed, nor are they regulated. The exception to this is milk, for which “use by”datesare federally regulated, and some other specific products in certain states. This is generallynot how consumers interpret these dates. Many people believe they indicate a product‟s safetyand discard food as soon as it reaches its expiration date. “Research on date labeling in the the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows that 45 to 49 percent ofconsumers misunderstands the meaning of date labels, resulting in an enormous amount ofprematurely discarded food. In fact, WRAP estimates that up to 20 percent of household foodwaste is linked to date labeling confusion. This led the U.K. government to recently revise itsguidance on date labeling such that now 1) “sell by” and “display until” labels should beremoved to avoid confusion for shoppers, with different ways of tracking stock control exploredby retailers; 2) “Best before” dates relate to food quality, including taste, texture, andappearance, but do not indicate that eating product past that date will be harmful; 3) “use by”dates relate to food safety; and 4) food may not be sold after the “use by” date, but retailers can,with theexception of eggs, sell products after the “best before” date, provided they are safe toeat.” “New York City residents waste approximately 270,000 pounds of food daily. Thatseems unfathomable when so many people in the world go hungry. That‟s where City Harvestfood bank steps in.This year, City Harvest food bank will deliver about 25 million pounds offood to community food programs such as soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters andsenior centers around the city. The food, which is collected from restaurants, cafeterias, grocerystores, hotels, farms and distributors is also collected through donations.More than one millionNew Yorkers rely on emergency food at some point in the year, and with the help of programslike this, we can take perfectly good food from the waste steam and divert it to where it is neededmost! For more than 30 years, City Harvest has and still is serving New York City as one of thefirst and only food rescue organizations. Founded in 1982, City Harvest has been there helpingout the people in need with their wonderful volunteers in the neighborhood trying to make adifference. City Harvest is New York City community‟s Answer to hunger. They link the foodindustry and countless organizations, foundations, corporations, and private citizens together tohelp feed our hungry neighbors. “More than 1.6 million New Yorkers currently live in poverty.City Harvest regularly delivers food to some 600 emergency food programs in New York City,helping feed the more than one million people that face hunger each year in our community.” City Harvest works to end hunger across all areas of New York and they‟re not stoppingthere. They are doing this by rescuing and distributing excess food, educating lower-incomepeople to encourage self-sufficiency, and forging innovative partnerships within communities tobring thousands of hungry their next meal. “This year, City Harvest will rescue over 40 millionpounds of excess food from food establishments throughout the city and across the country. Inaddition to collecting food from some of the top restaurants in New York City, our food rescueefforts have broadened to include donations from wholesalers and distributors, Greenmarkets, 4
  5. 5. Beau Beckerbakeries and caterers, farmers, hotels, hospitals, corporate cafeterias, and year-round canned fooddrives rub by private citizens.”Section 3The greatest potential for food waste reduction Interviewer emphasized the importance of implementing sustainable solutions across theentire Food Supply Chain to fully realize the potential for food waste reduction. In developingand emerging economies, this would require market-led large-scale investment in agriculturalinfrastructure, technological skills and knowledge, storage, transport and distribution. Suchinvestments have been shown to stimulate rural economies. In the case of the Koreans chargingfor the amount they waste it‟s showing an impact that can help change what‟s going on. Where international markets and local policies and investment are lacking, large-scalecapital investment in infrastructure in developing countries has often failed. For long-termsustainability the developing world needs help from locally supported government policies andinvestment alongside any market-led private investment with reach through into developed worldmarkets. Examples of food waste reduction include various cooperative schemes, City Harvest,Community, technology, and many other Sustainable Organizations. The greatest potential for reducing the amount of food wasted in the developed world lieswith retailers, food services and consumers. We need to make shifts in the way we value food,through education, increased awareness of the food supply chain and food wastes impact on theenvironment have the potential to reduce waste production. Improved food labeling and betterconsumer understanding of labeling and food storage also have food waste reduction potential.Get involved in ongoing activities in the area, through programs such as City Harvest. With foodprice recognized as the most important factor in determining consumer decisions, anecdotalevidence suggests that the economic crisis has stimulated a shift in consumer attitude to foodwaste. Through Innovative technology throughout the supply chain, in both developed anddeveloping worlds, particularly in packaging, contributes to improving shelf life for perishablefoods and semi-prepared meals. Continued developments in packaging, utilizing technology andmaterials science, have the potential to further increase shelf life. With the world growing, lack of infrastructure and technical and managerial skills in foodproduction and post-harvest processing have been identified as key drivers in the creation of foodwaste, both now and over the near future. This situation contrasts with that in developedcountries where our interviewees forecast the majority of food waste continuing to be producedpost-consumer, driven by the low price of food relative to disposable income, consumers highexpectations of food cosmetic standards and the increasing disconnection between consumersand how food is produced. Similarly, the increasing urbanization within transitioning countrieswill potentially disconnect those populations from how food is grown, which is likely to furtherincrease food waste generation. 5
  6. 6. Beau Becker Across the globe, resource and commodity limitations, in part as a result of an increasingpopulation but also owing to impacts of climate change, were viewed as being likely to increasethe economic value of food, potentially driving more efficient processes that could lead to foodwaste reduction. Industrialization will continue to develop in response to these wider challengesby the development of shared logistics, identification and labeling of products, use of barcodes,and better demand forecasting, and domestic kitchen technologies (smart fridges, cookers, onlinemeal planning and recipe resources) may make it easier for consumers to manage their foodbetter and waste less of it. Research shows that as the proportion of income spent on food declines, food wasteincreases. There is clear evidence of a distribution of waste across different groups, with thelowest wastage rates in the immediate post-war age generation. “However, it would be a mistaketo assume that the demographic distribution will remain the same in the future, as todays elderlygenerally exhibit a „waste not want not‟ mentality, while the elderly of the future are likely tocontinue to retain the same attitudes and behaviors to food that they have today.” There are clearly fundamental factors affecting post-consumer food waste worldwide,some of which may require solutions that involve direct communication and awareness-raisingamong consumers of the importance of reducing food waste. Others require governmentinterventions and the support and cooperation of the food industry itself, such as improving theclarity of food date labeling and advice on food storage, or ensuring that an appropriate range ofpack or portion sizes is available that meets the needs of different households. 6
  7. 7. Beau Becker Work Cited "Food Waste Reduction Is So Hot Right Now! ." Wasted Food -- Jonathan Bloom on food wasteand how it can be avoided | a look at how America squanders nearly half of its food. N.p., 20 Feb. 2012.Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <>. Grigoras, Oana. "Koreans Use High-Tech Bins to Curb Food Waste." softpedia. N.p., 6 Jan. 2012.Web. 15 Nov. 2012. < › News › Green › Food & Health>. Gunders, Dana. " Don’t toss your cookies: Curbing the crisis of food waste | Grist." Grist |Environmental News, Commentary, Advice. N.p., 22 Aug. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.<>. Gunders, Dana (2012). Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm toFork to Landfill. Available at: [Last AccessedNovember 15, 2012. Moon, Lindsey. "Wisconsin Works to Curb Food Waste |" N.p., 24Aug. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <>. Taylor, Marygrace Taylor. " Curbing Food Waste : KIWI Magazine Online." KIWI Magazine Online.N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <>. Trueba, I. & MacMillan, A., How to End Hunger in Times of Crises, UPM Press, 2011 "City Harvest - Rescuing Food for New Yorks Hungry." City Harvest - Rescuing Food for NewYorks Hungry. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <>. 7