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.