20+ Shocking Food Waste Facts of America

Food waste is one of the issues currently facing the planet as a whole. America in particular tends to have a serious food waste problem because its consumerism is largely at the retail level compounded by the fact that the majority of Americans are more conversant with finished goods rather than the actual produce.

America therefore has a very high rate of food waste because people have developed a habit of buying excess food than what is actually needed or eaten per meal time. This article seeks to list 20+ shocking food waste facts about America.

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1. The total food waste realized in America is as high the food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa relies on irrigation and minimal rainfall to ensure crops grow to maturity before harvest. After a series of short and long rainfall, there is produce realized which is fairly equal to the food waste of the whole of America.

2. More than a third of food produced in America becomes food waste. This is caused by the unconscious or conscious state of throwing food away as waste. Snacks half eaten as well as excess food purchased but not finished leads to the alarming percentage of food waste.

3. Food waste in America is realized at the consumer level. Most Americans eat at home, buy snacks or eat at a restaurant which is perfectly okay. However, food left on plates or the leftover burger or fries contribute to heightened food wastes.

4. In 2010, the largest component of municipal solid waste from garbage bins was food waste. The dumping of food is becoming rampant which is sad since there are people who still reside in the same country who lack adequate food.

5. America is home to the largest share of the 1.4 billion overweight adults in the world. This is quite ironic. America has the largest food waste in terms of metric tons and still, has the highest number of individuals who suffer from obesity and being overweight. It simply translates to a stalemate because in one household, there is overconsumption of food while in another; food is wasted and goes down the garbage bin.

6. Food waste in America is approximately at 50 million tons annually. The garbage collected in America is full of food waste from the American households which contributes to pollution, effective landfill management problems, and is hazardous to the environment. Most of these food wastes are in plastic bags and containers thus contributing to plastic pollution.

7. High levels of perishable food wastes in American farm leads to lower consumption. In a case where the farm produce goes bad in the farm or in the store, there is a high likelihood that there is reduced willingness to purchase the produce. This leads to a decrease in the consumption of vegetables and fruits which constitute the majority of vitamins and metals which are essential in human diets.

8. Most Americans realize there is a food waste problem but do not acknowledge that they are part of the problem. A large percentage of the American population is aware that the rate of increase of food waste is at an alarming rate. Nevertheless, they do not realize that the little acts they do goes a long way towards food waste, that is, buying food in excess and then throwing away what remains.

9. One in seven people is faced with food insecurity in America. The common stereotype is that food insecurity is only in third world countries and that in developed countries, there is sufficient food and wealth. This may not be the case in America. One in about seven people relies on the government through feeding programs translating to roughly 50 million people. Beside, the affected people are unable to provide for their families as a whole and so have to seek food stamps to survive.

10. A lot of the food waste realized comes from over-purchasing. Individuals buy items in bulk which is okay but fail to see the expiry date which then warrants the disposal of the already bad food, leading to wastes. In order to avoid this, in the case of bulk buying, then there should be effective means of storage like freezers and keen review of expiry dates.

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11. There is loss of 650 pounds of food between the farm and the dining table. Normally, an individual should consume about 2000 pounds of food annually to stay healthy. Yet, there is a loss of pounds therein. This happens when there is poor storage of produce in the farm, stores and at home. Farm produce may overstay in the farm or the store and due to the high level of perishability, it goes bad.

12. About 20% of the farm produce is rejected in the retail stores due to poor quality standards. Farm produce that does not meet the set quality checks such as shape, color and packaging is normally removed from the stores. The result is loss of food that is suitable for human consumption. In light of this predicament, there are stores that are ready to accept the farm produce that has been rejected to salvage the produce and minimize food wastes.

13. In America only, about 25% of water is wasted because of food waste. Water is a scarce resource which should be utilized. In the course of farm produce, there is water that is constantly used for irrigation which would be termed as wasted if the farm produce is itself in the end, termed as wasted. In addition, there is a lot of water left running in taps during food preparation which leads to massive wastage of water in the long run.

14. There is a loss of about 640 billion dollars realized from food waste every year in America. The figure is alarmingly large which begs the need to save food and consume what one can consume.

15. About a half of Americans take home the left overs they left in the restaurants. This should be encouraged since this translates to less loss of food. In consequence of this, more individuals should seek to take back what they have left on dinner tables in restaurants in order to take it again, or to recycle the leftover. In the end, there is no food waste.

16. 40% of food in America is never consumed. This is brought about by the fact that there are certain crops which are majorly produced by America and are mainly exported to other countries. In the end, there is minimal consumption of the particular crop in the country. For instance, despite America being the largest producers of maize, most of it used for export and people still go hungry in the same country.

17. In 30 years’ time, the average calorie consumption will be at 3070 up from the current 2000. This is warranted by the fact that the current population consumes a lot of food which has brought about a heightened level of overconsumption. The increase is also attributed to the growth of the number of obese and overweight individuals in America since the 21st With the current trend, year 2050 will be graced by a lot of obesity which may lead to overconsumption.

18. Food wastes have led to an increase in the per capita income. The wastes in food translate to money loss when it comes to the American economy. In about 40-50 years, the per capita income has been on the rise owed to the fact that the rate of food waste is increasing annually.

Moreover, the population is still steadily growing and as such, the number of individuals who are obese and overweight is also on the increase. As a result, the government has to invest a large chunk of the financial budget on food and the amount keeps increasing annually.

19. America has realized that food wastes can be an avenue for creating value on other sectors of the economy. American has realized that wasted food can provide compost which can be converted to give energy. Wasted food can also be processed into animal feeds in the agricultural sector. With such initiatives, compost can be used for energy production and animal feeds can support the agricultural sector.

20. Food waste in America produces billions of tons of carbon dioxide, augmenting global climate change. Emissions related to food waste considering production, transportation and processing of food in America simply translate to worsening of climate change and increased global warming.

21. There are millions of individuals who reside in America who face malnutrition. Those that are not privileged enough to have a constant supply of food end up facing this nutritional disorder. It is for this reason that feeding programs exist.

References: TheDailyMeal
Image credit: pixabay, flickr

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.