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Reducing Food Waste is Money in the Pocket and Food on the Table for Families

What would you do with $390?  I imagine that “throw it in the garbage” was not on your list of possibilities.

Nevertheless, throwing money in the garbage is what many of us do regularly when it comes to food.  In 2008 the amount of uneaten food in homes and restaurants was valued at roughly $390 per U.S. consumer – more than an average month’s worth of food expenditures and almost three times the average monthly Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) benefit. By reducing our food waste, we could put some of this money back in our pockets.

By reducing their food waste, manufacturers, restaurants and food stores can improve their bottom line.  By donating excess food, they can also help put food on the table for families in need. Across the county, businesses are doing just that.  Feeding America, a leading domestic hunger-relief charity, estimates that food donations supplied 2.7 billion meals to its clientele in 2010.  “Rock and Wrap It Up!”, an award-winning national hunger relief program, provides 100,000 meals every week from the leftovers from schools, hotels, sporting events, rock concerts, political gatherings, film shoots and television tapings.

On June 4th, USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge and call on others to join the effort to divert excess wholesome food to help families in need.

Check back next week for more ideas about what you can do, or learn more at www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/

2 Responses to “Reducing Food Waste is Money in the Pocket and Food on the Table for Families”

  1. Kent W Boadwine says:

    Why not create”Waste not, Want not” No edible food should be disposed of. I am the a CPA involved in my family’s dairy farms. We milk about 7000 cows. I also have a CPA practice including a heavily concentrated farm client base. We waste too much food. There are substantial abuses of all government programs. A single person with 2 children under the age of 16, earning $8.00/hr ($16,000 annually) receives a tax refund of $7,186 without paying anything in. The benefit package includes SNAP, rent assistance, medical, child care and heat assistance. We have created a systems which rewards mediocrity. Make Waste not-Want not manditory. Move edible food from the dumpster to private relief agencies. You tout SNAP as a benefit, but if food were available from non-governmental relief agencies, the SNAP program, which is wide open to abuse, could move resources toward programs such as “Meals on Wheels” which truly helps those who cannot help themselves. Truly needy could be assisted from available food and move toward self-reliance much quicker than under a carte-blanche givaway program.
    This administration has advertised for people to take advantage of SNAP- in a nation with ample food supply, even if economic distress does not allow all to participate, our waste of edible food could supply all with healthy food. It is a tragedy that edible food is thrown away at he same time government is advertising out and out giveaways.

  2. Michelle says:

    The SNAP program is vital to helping with hunger, but it should do just that! There should be new rules set in place to reduce health issues. One rule would be to only allow program recipients to purchase only healthful food. Give vouchers to purchase snacks on a limited basis. Most people don’t know that they can purchase food plants or seeds that produce food. Most stores that participate, are not aware that SNAP recipients can purchase seeds. The biggest problem with food waste is too much food given too freely.

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