Food Waste In America

Stephanie Frias Esparza, Journalist


Food pictures courtesy of Getty Images

   Food. Just thinking of the word makes you hungry. A sweet juicy burger, or a savory slice of pizza. So much delicious food. But did you know America leads the world in food waste?

   The Guardian recently released a report saying, “…roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away—some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually, an amount constituting one third of all foodstuffs.” Americans waste a great amount of food, which we could use for other purposes. We could use this food by giving it to homeless people who suffer from hunger.

   Everyday Americans waste about 30-40% of the food we produce. On the other hand, 1 in 5 Americans struggle to put food on their table. That’s 20% of households. These families have to worry everyday what they will have for dinner.

   Dr. Roni Neff, a researcher at Hopkins University said, “If we were able to recover all of our wasted food, we could provide a 2,000 calorie diet to 84% of the population” (Here’s How Many People America’s Wasted Food Could Feed). Tons of pounds of food are wasted per day, if we could regain all that food lost, we would be able to feed most of the families who struggle to put food on their table.

   Each year we waste 72 billion pounds of food. The average American wastes 300 pounds of food each year. And the average household misspends about $2,200 of food each year.

Food Waste courtesy of Getty Images

   Numerous restaurants end up with left over food. For example if they purchase too much, they serve huge portions, or preparing too much. But what do restaurants do with this food? Multiple restaurants donate it to a local soup kitchen or a food pantry.  

   Americans have a tendency of wasting a high consumption of food. The most common to be wasted are Fruits and Vegetables. Followed by Dairy and Meat. The top 5 food to be wasted is bread, milk, potatoes, cheese, and apples.

   With the food Americans waste every day, we could fill a college stadium. Imagine fitting 365 Rose Bowl Stadiums in Pasadena, California.

   The wealthiest people are the humans to waste the most food. They waste the most food because of their “high consumption.”

Food pictures courtesy of Getty Images

    Americans lead the world in food waste because of how cheap food is. As Bryan Walsh tells The Atlantic it starts with corn. “American corn production has tripled in the past 40 years, from 4 billion bu. in 1970 to 12 billion.”American farmers now produce an astounding 153 bu. of corn per acre, up from 118 as recently as 1990″ (Why Is American Food So Cheap?). American food is so cheap because we inject our food with chemicals. Which makes everything so cheap.

   The United States wastes millions of tons of food. With all this food going to waste, many families are left without something to eat. We could save the food that is still fit to use, and could provide it to the families that struggle. The food that has gone bad, we could use it to make compost, and help the environment, be a better place.