Question of the Day: What percent of the U.S. food supply is wasted?

|
Apr 11, 2021
|
Question of the Day, Budgeting

Answer: 30-40%. 

PBS video (5 minutes): Top Chef’ Tom Colicchio on America’s staggering waste of food

Questions:

  • Is food waste an issue in your family?
  • How does “Sell by date” lead to unnecessary food waste? What steps are being taken to fix this situation?
  • What are some ideas that you can use to reduce the amount of food that you/your family waste?

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (USDA):

In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. This amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on society:

Wholesome food that could have helped feed families in need is sent to landfills.
Land, water, labor, energy and other inputs are used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.