Food and drink related waste in the U.S. has been a pressing issue for some time now. In 2012, it was reported that $165 billion in food was being wasted in the U.S. annually: that’s 40 percent of all food being either left to rot or tossed out. In 2015, the cost of food waste was up to $218 billion, with 27 metric tons of that being attributed to U.S. homes alone.
The impact this waste has on the environment is reaching dire measures, as the U.S. could save an estimated 281 billion gallons of water if better food conservation practices were in place.
In 2013, the USDA and EPA launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge (FWC) in an attempt to curtail food waste through the encouragement of better food waste management. The goal was to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030.
In 2016, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service released new guidance where they recommended that retailers and manufacturers change their labels to indicate quality of the product rather than when it should be discarded by.
There have also been initiatives launched, such as the Culinary Arts & Food Science Program at Drexel University, which partnered with the FWC to implement better use for the food waste generated by restaurants and grocery stores.
Now, innovative startups are rising up to tackle this significant and growing problem head-on.