When Resources are Scarce, Why so Much Food Waste?

Families, Retailers Tossing More Food Away is a Concerning Trend

October 12, 2012

Image cour­tesy of Press​con​nects​.com

We’re lucky to live in a coun­try that takes its food sup­ply for granted.  The clos­est any of us get to expe­ri­enc­ing an actual food short­age isn’t really com­pa­ra­ble to one at all; we usu­ally just pay a lit­tle more when items get scarce.  All of us will expe­ri­ence some of that in the com­ing months when corn-​​based items get pricier after this summer’s drought.  But that’s it — for the most part, we never really go with­out.  Not like other coun­tries are forced to do, anyway.

And we’ve all seen those images from places around the world where food isn’t read­ily avail­able.  So why  is our cul­ture still wast­ing so much?  It’s a con­cern­ing trend.  Two arti­cles we ran across seem to detail the prob­lems, from both the individual/​family per­spec­tive as well as food retailers’.

The first, from www​.press​con​nects​.com: “Report: Fam­i­lies toss up to 20 pounds of food per per­son each month”  20 pounds per per­son, per month!

The sec­ond, from the Nat­ural Resources Defense Coun­cil staff blog, penned by Peter Lehner, attacks the issue from the supermarket’s per­cep­tion: “Food Waste in Super­mar­kets, Part 2: Pur­su­ing Per­fec­tion, Dri­ving Waste”  is a good primer on the shift toward super­mar­kets’ aban­don­ment of prac­tices that lim­ited food waste in favor of reduc­ing costs.  Both arti­cles are eye opening.

Impact com­pa­nies let us address some of this prob­lem.  For instance, Eco­Scraps has come up with a fan­tas­tic solu­tion for waste that doesn’t allow food to just be dis­carded, despite how much more of it actu­ally is these days.