Four Markers of Progress in 2015 for Cutting U.S. Food Waste

There's no doubt about it. This was an exciting year in the U.S. for us food waste geeks. And while we still don't have the measurement tools to demonstrate less food was actually wasted, there are a handful of ways to demarcate real progress was made in the U.S.

Ironically, with all of this media, Johns Hopkins still found that most Americans believe they waste less than the average American. So, still some work to do there.

  • Last but not least, entrepreneurs and innovation made some inroads. Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe's, opened his long awaited Daily Table store, selling excess nutritious food (that might otherwise have been wasted) at low cost in a lower income area of Boston. Imperfect Produce launched their cosmetically-imperfect produce box delivery service. General Electric announced an open-source refrigerator that might allow for some real innovation in fridge design. Feeding America received support from Google to create on online marketplace to enable more donation of excess food. And that's just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the range of new apps and other ideas that are now being pursued.

Exciting stuff all around! And we have lots more to look forward to in 2016--a year in which I expect the momentum around reducing food waste will only continue to build. Keep your eyes out for the ReFED report expected in March, NRDC and Ad Council's consumer-facing campaign launching in April, WRI's Food Loss and Waste Protocol also in April, and hopefully, a plan from the Feds as to how they're going to achieve those ambitious targets they set.

You might also consider getting on board with a New Year's resolution of your own. How much progress will you make on cutting your own food waste in 2016?

About the Authors

Dana Gunders

Senior Scientist, Food & Agriculture program

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