What Smart Businesses Know About Food Waste

In a striking and welcome display of corporate leadership, 15 leading food companies have publicly committed to reduce their food waste by 50% by the year 2030.  By stepping forward as founding “U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions”, these companies have made it clear:  when it comes to reducing wasted food, they mean business.

Participating companies include some of the heaviest hitters in the U.S. food system with Walmart, PepsiCo, Conagra, Kellogg Company, General Mills, Sodexo, Campbell Soup Company, Ahold USA, Bon Appetit Management Company and Unilever among them.

Their commitment comes on the heels of last September’s announcement by EPA and USDA that the U.S. had established its first ever national goal to reduce the amount of food that goes uneaten. That 50% reduction goal came about as countries around the world made similar commitments, highlighting growing global awareness that the time to get serious about wasting less food is at hand.

As General Mills’ Chief Sustainability Officer put it, "As a global food company, it's imperative to take thoughtful action to combat food waste. We will continue to advance our role in helping to reduce food insecurity, reduce the needless churn of the planet's resources used to produce food that is then thrown away, and eliminating the cost from food that is ultimately wasted. We are committed to doing our part–socially, environmentally and financially–and we support the USDA and EPA's continued leadership efforts to escalate the importance of food waste reduction."

This comment aptly captures the win-win-win nature of reducing food waste: it helps businesses save money while benefiting the communities in which they work and reducing their environmental footprint. Forward-thinking companies know that and are stepping up to the plate. 

Indeed, analysis by ReFED (Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data) estimated that businesses stand to generate $1.9 billion of profit each year by adopting strategies like food waste tracking and analytics to measure and prevent food waste, right-sizing portions, and improving inventory and cold chain  management.  A recent survey of food manufacturers, retailers and restaurants by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance highlights both signs of progress and the enormous room for continued improvement.

We commend these companies for their leadership and look forward to more businesses joining their ranks. Their commitment to the 2030 goal makes it plain: reducing food waste is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.  

About the Authors

JoAnne Berkenkamp

Senior Advocate, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

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