Food Waste: A Yucky Problem That’s on All of Our Plates

By Liz Enzor - Food Safety
May 15, 2015
produce customers food

Good food shouldn’t go in the garbage. But inadvertently, one-third of the food our society produces is ending up there – and a good percentage of that is happening in our homes.

It isn’t intentional, of course – whether a dish spoils in the refrigerator, or we prepare a little more than we need, no one brings groceries home thinking they aren’t going to eat them. So, how can we stop feeding the landfill? We offer three simple suggestions:

  • Consider date labels carefully
  • Plan grocery shopping by making a list
  • Freeze food for later

At Walmart, we’ve found that date labeling confusion is a huge contributor to food waste in the average consumer’s home. Because there isn’t currently one standard regulation for how food companies must date their products, you might see “sell by,” “best by,” “use before” or many other variations throughout your shopping cart. This is an issue that has been top-of-mind in food safety at Walmart for a while now, and so last year we worked with the Institute of Food Technologists to release this call for a simpler, more uniform solution.
But what’s happening in our homes is only one piece of the puzzle. Food businesses like restaurants and retailers play a role, too. As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart recognizes our responsibility to help end food waste. We have programs in place to donate good, unsold food to those who need it – and also to work with our suppliers to produce more food with fewer resources

Ultimately, food waste is a problem that’s on all of our plates. But if we all take a harder look at what we’re buying, eating and throwing away, we not only keep food out of our garbage cans – with food waste costing us each between $28 and $43 per month, we can keep more money in our wallets, too.