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Talk to Me About Food - Reducing Food Waste - The Consumer's Responsibility

Reducing Food Waste - The Consumer's Responsibility

Talk to Me About Food

Food waste remains a huge problem around the world - 1.3 billion tons of food every year according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Some 40% of food waste in the United States is directly as a result of what we, as individuals, throw out at home or when we eat out. I know I'm as guilty as the next guy. Tons of food over the years, I'm sure, and all the packaging that the food comes in too!
Policy makers, think tank thinkers and academics have been dialing up the message of food waste for the past decade or so. The message has become more urgent. More strident. Why? Climate change. Food waste has been identified as a meaningful contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This has spurred additional activists, environmentalists, a rash of op-eds and entrepreneurs hoping to help fix the problem. Not a week goes by when I don’t see an article in the business media about a start-up trying to tackle food waste.
It’s also not hard to find articles in consumer magazines that offer "X easy ways to reduce food waste at home." "How To" books have been published on topic. And I found a long list of ideas on how to reduce food waste on the government's EPA web site, that groups ideas into planning, shopping, storage, and meal preparation categories. The NRDC has a web site dedicated to the topic, with software tools for every step of the process.

I perused these lists, tips, and tools. I quickly realized that our family doesn’t follow many of the suggestions. It’s not surprising that we generate a lot of food trash. I got to thinking about why the average American family creates so much food waste, and how difficult it might be to change our planning, shopping, and meal preparation habits so that we can reduce this waste.
In this episode of Talk to Me About Food, I share findings from interviews I conducted with a handful of primary food shoppers around this topic, among them a list of what are likely the most effective of the 37 (!) suggestions, as well as thoughts on how to make other ideas more doable. Our relationship with the process of getting and making food is complicated... I also discuss an example of how the latest technology might help us act on our best intentions to reduce food waste at home.

10/01/19 • 30 min

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May 17

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Food waste is making the headlines. It starts at the farm, but everyone along the food chain bears responsibility. There are lots of easy things you and I can do to reduce food waste.

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