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Food waste in the US – what’s on the menu?

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Food waste expert Shannon Bergstrom reflects on the current state of food loss and waste in the US and discusses some of the recent changes that are predicted to foster positive results.

Food waste in the US is a massive problem. Current estimates put waste levels at around 219 lbs. per person, per year, and as the US population continues to grow it seems likely that food waste will rise along with it. However, while the data generally points to the US as a global leader when it comes to food waste, there is, perhaps, a more concerning metric that dominates the issue within global discourse.

Unlike most of the developing world, an alarmingly large amount of waste occurs at the consumer level, which is, in fact, a pattern repeated across most developed nations. In contrast with much of Europe, however, and where the US lags behind even countries generally perceived as “underdeveloped”, is the measures implemented to combat food waste.

Among the biggest issues facing consumers today is a confusing food expiry system.

This, alongside large portion sizes and increasing obesity levels on one side and a

growing number of people suffering from food poverty on the other, leaves an indelible image of a nation with an unhealthy food obsession.

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John Wu
John Wu
Apr 15, 2021

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