Why Do We Waste So Much Food?

Scientists and environmental conservationists have long warned of the dangerous levels of food that we waste each and every year. In fact, we’ve sounded the alarm on this issue right here at WasteXperts. And yet, wasteful habits persist. One reason may be a lack of clarity about where all this wasted food comes from. By better understanding the causes of food waste, we might all feel more empowered to curb it.

What are the Primary Contributors to Food Waste?

Several factors help explain the persistence of the food waste problem. The following are some of the primary offenders.

Label Confusion

You’ve probably seen food products marked with a “best by” date. But how does that differ from a “use by” date or a “best before” date? These non-standardized terms cause confusion among consumers, who often worry that their item has “gone bad” when, in reality, it hasn’t. Shifting to a more standard and transparent food labeling system is something the food packaging industry could do to help reduce the food that gets tossed every day.

Oversized Portions

In recent years, restaurants have significantly increased the size of the average portion, which naturally leads to some uneaten food that goes to waste. Supermarkets and moving theaters have followed suit, increasing the portions of each container or bag. When you order or shop, remember that bigger isn’t always better! Try to avoid having eyes that are bigger than your stomach.

Produce Expectations

Another serious contributor to the food waste problem? Lofty expectations about what fruits and veggies ought to look like. Consumers often want perfectly sized and shaped produce, leaving imperfect specimens to be left behind and ultimately discarded. Increasing our openness toward ugly-but-still-edible organics is essential to curbing food waste.

Overstocked Stores

When you go to the supermarket, you naturally want to be able to find all the items on your shopping list. That’s why store managers try to keep everything adequately stocked. The problem is that too many stores overstock perishable food items, which results in a lot of waste. To combat this problem, retailers will need to get more exacting in their inventory management processes (and that may require some grace from consumers, as well).

Lack of Food Recycling Options

A final concern: It’s often hard to know exactly what to do with unwanted food. Lack of awareness about the merits of composting is an especially big issue. Additionally, many communities have limited options for donating unused canned goods. Addressing these limitations will be crucial as we seek to reduce our levels of food waste.

Let’s Make Food Waste History

Food waste is a problem, but it’s not insurmountable. At WasteXperts, we’d love to discuss waste management solutions for your apartment complex or your place of business. Reach out to our team whenever you’re ready to chat!

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