New reports show that 40 percent of food in the United States is never eaten.
According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans waste $165 billion worth of food a year.
The NRDC said that more than 20 pounds of food is wasted each month among 311 million Americans. This amounts to $1,350 to $2,275 annually for a family of four.
“Food is simply too good to waste,” the report said. “Given all the resources demanded for food production, it is critical to make sure that the least amount possible is needlessly squandered on its journey to our plates.”
The report found that American homes are the primary source for waste.
“American families throw out approximately 25% percent of the food and beverages they buy,” the report said. Researchers believe that Americans no longer value food since it is sold much cheaper.
“Food represents a small portion of many Americans’ budgets, making the financial cost of wasting food too low to outweigh the convenience of it,” the report said. “The issue of wasted food is simply not on the radar of many Americans, even those who consider themselves environment-or-cost-conscious.”
The report pointed to enticing impulse buys, buying in bulk and eating out as strong contributors to the waste. They believe most Americans decide to eat out even when there is food left in the refrigerator at home. Experts also found that many families who cook are preparing more than what they can actually consume.
The average size of a dinner plate in the U.S. today is 36 percent larger than it was in 1960.
Restaurants are also held responsible in the report.
The report found that 17 percent of restaurant meals are not eaten and too much food is served.
“Today, portion sizes can be two to eight times larger than USDA or FDA standard serving sizes,” the report indicated.
Restaurants are also charged with stocking more than they can actually serve.