Assessing U.S. Food Wastage and Opportunities for Reduction
sustainable food system
food supply chain
Medicine and Health Sciences
Reducing food wastage is one of the key strategies to combat hunger and sustainably feed the world. We present a comprehensive analysis of available data, despite uncertainties due to data limitation, indicating that the U.S. loses at least 150 million metric tonnes (MMT) of food between farm and fork annually, of which about 70 MMT is edible food loss. Currently, <2% of the edible food loss is recovered for human consumption. A reasonably-attainable goal of food waste reduction at the source by 20% would save more food than the annual increase in total food production and would feed millions of people. This is an opportunity of significant magnitude, offering food security and resource and environmental benefits with few negatives. Seizing this opportunity requires technological innovation, policy intervention, and public outreach. This U.S.-based analysis is pertinent to other mid- to high-income countries.