How Much Food does the Average American Waste?

How much food does the average american waste? 

  • UNEP states “In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month” (UNEP).
  • Specht states “…Americans don’t use 25 percent of the perishables we bring home” (Specht).
  • Oliver states that “the individual throws away about 20 pounds of food every mouth” (Oliver).

This information is important for the useful adult to know. A useful adult needs to know how to be financially responsible and also provide for their family.  Food waste is an expensive thing and most American don’t realize that they are doing it. Educating oneself on the issue of food waste will help to save money and food. 


Why do Americans waste food? 

  • Britz states “… the occurrence of food waste at household level might express preferences for a certain quality of food, such that e.g. specific parts are not used or part of purchases thrown away after they had been stored for a while” (1).
  • UNEP claims “It seems routine to us: if we have leftover food scraps that are unfit for eating, shouldn’t they be thrown in the garbage?” (UNEP).
  • Specht states”We live in a throw-away society and our abundant food waste is just another reflection of that attitude” (Specht).
  •  Specht states “…food is cheap in the U.S. No other nation spends as little of their budget on edibles” (Specht).
  •  Gobel states “people demand both more varied… nutrition…” (1430).
  • Gobel states “When selling fresh products, the appearance plays a crucial role. Products with small optical defects are difficult to sell even in organic markets; this suggest that consumers use the standardized appearance of the product as an indicator of quality” (1436).
  • Gobel states “the buying behavior of consumers is stimulated by visual sales incentives” (1438).

This is interesting data that is not much thought about. Becoming aware of unconscious habits will help to reduce food waste. 

What is considered “avoidable food waste” and how can we reduce it?

  • Britz defines “Avoidable food waste consists of food that is thrown away but is edible prior to disposal. Unavoidable food waste, on the other
    hand, arises during food preparation and is not edible under normal circumstances such as egg shells, bones, etc…). Share of avoidable food waste is estimated to be around 60% of total food waste” (1)
  • UNEP offers “Be a smart shopper and think about what you are buying and when it will be eaten. Wasting food is often a subconscious act – become aware of how much food you throw away” (UNEP).
  • Chainey states “The answer, according to the United Nations, is not to produce more food, but to stop wasting so much of what we already have” (Chainey).
  • Specht states “In two words: Buy less. Or at least shop smarter” (Specht).

As of right now this is the only “call to action” section I have on how to reduce food waste, I would like to expand on it so I can make a paragraph about it. Because reducing food waste is equally as important as education oneself on the issue, it should be emphasized.