Minimizing food waste will help improve food security, both here in the United States and abroad.
Minimizing food waste will help improve food security, both here in the United States and abroad.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency want to raise awareness about food loss and waste in the United States. As a result, the agencies launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge in 2013 to help companies learn about steps they can take to reduce food loss.

According to USDA, more than 4,000 entities have signed up for the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, “demonstrating the growing momentum around this issue in the United States,” it states on its website.

Reaching the new national goal of cutting food loss and waste in half by 2030, which was announced in 2015, requires renewed commitments to aggressively cut food loss and waste. USDA and EPA established the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions initiative as a way of ramping up national efforts to meet this goal. The U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions initiative is about recognizing those organizations that have committed to cutting food loss and waste in their own operations in half by 2030 and periodically report on their progress, as stated on USDA’s website.

The U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions are businesses and organizations that have made a public commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations in the United States by 50% by the year 2030. They include: Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appetit Management Company, Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Inc., PepsiCo, Weis Markets, Kellogg Company, Campbell Soup Company, Sodexo, Walmart and Sam's U.S., Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., Unilever, and  YUM! Brands.

“The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change,” states USDA. “To help galvanize national efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the United States’ first-ever food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015, calling for a 50% reduction by 2030. Government alone cannot reach this goal. It will require effort and action from the entire food system. The 2030 Champions have heard the Call to Action and are committed to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal.”

Food waste is a problem in developed as well as undeveloped countries. Although the causes vary, in many cases that waste could be minimized, believes Tim Fox, head of Energy and Environment for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the United Kingdom.

“With the knowledge we have today in the engineering practice community, we can meet many of the challenges facing us now,” he said. “Do the basic math: If we can feed 6 billion people on 2 to 2.8 billion tons of food, we should be able to feed 9 to 10 billion people on a little more than 4 billion tons. If we’re presently wasting 30% to 50% of the food we produce, and we identify ways to minimize that loss, not only can we feed more people on what is already being produced, but we can radically reduce pressure on water, energy and land-use as well.”