Americans Waste One Pound Of Food Per Person Per Day

Healthy fruits and veggies are delicious regardless of their shape

And throwing our food into the trash wastes the land, labor, and resources that went into producing it.

Remaining foods and dishes each accounted for less than 10 percent of total food waste: other foods and dishes (mostly candy, soft drinks and other beverages), salty snacks, soup, potatoes and mixed potato dishes, nuts and seeds, Mexican dishes, eggs and mixed egg dishes, and table oils and salad dressing. Of the 22 food groups studied, fruits and vegetables were wasted most, accounting for 39 percent of the total waste.

The subject of food waste has become increasingly important to the industry and consumers in recent years and FoodIngredientsFirst follows this issue very closely. Food intake information was gathered from self-reported dietary data that is subject to measurement error.

Between 2007 and 2014, USA consumers wasted almost 150,000 tons of food per day.

Dairy (17 percent) and meat (14 percent) are the second and third most wasted.

Growing this wasted food used 30 million acres of cropland, 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water, 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertiliser and 780 million pounds of pesticides. Fruit and vegetables require less land to grow than than other foods, such as meat, but require a large amount of water and pesticides.

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Researchers also found a correlation which is surprising at a first glance: healthy eaters waste more than unhealthy eaters. The use of these resources has a significant cost on the environment, the scientists say.

The estimates were compiled using data collected from various U.S. government databases, but it doesn't come without limitations. But overall, the food-waste study helps fill gaps in knowledge, the authors wrote. In recent years, with a new focus on reducing food waste for environmental and public health reasons, researchers have begun to get ever more granular in their study of exactly how, why, when, where and what food gets wasted. "The current results suggest that simultaneous efforts to improve diet quality and reduce food waste may be critical". He was initially surprised to see healthy diets linked to more food waste, though after reading the paper, Hanks speculates that people eating high quality diets with more perishable foods might not be using up all the food before it spoils.

As has been said before: once tasted, never wasted, so waste not want not.

Zach Conrad, a postdoctoral nutritionist with the ARS Grand Forks (North Dakota) Human Nutrition Research Center, together with fellow nutritionist Lisa Jahns and colleagues from the University of Vermont and University of New Hampshire, conducted the food-waste study to fill gaps left by prior research that sought to establish links between diet quality and environmental impacts.

"A number of important efforts have been proposed or are underway to reduce and repurpose food waste at the individual and institutional levels, yet further research is needed to better understand the comparative effectiveness of these efforts". It looked at the consumer habits of Americans between 2007 and 2014.

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