If food waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter. The problem is worst in the U.S., where nearly half – a full 40 percent – of our food goes uneaten.
And it’s not just food that’s being wasted – roughly one-fifth of all U.S. cropland, fertilizers, and agricultural water is used to grow this food that’s ending up in the landfill.
Food waste is a climate problem – here in the U.S., wasted food generates greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 37 million cars. Project Drawdown ranked reducing food waste third of its top 100 solutions to climate change. And it’s clear that our food and agriculture sector must play a huge role in reducing food waste if we hope to change this.
Food waste has always been one of the Climate Collaborative’s key climate action commitment areas and we’re excited to add new tools to help our companies tackle this challenge. This year, we launched a new KeHE-sponsored Retailer Food Waste project, in partnership with food waste expert, Dana Gunders. We’ve spent months visiting retailers across the U.S. to conduct in-depth food waste consultations. Now we’re excited to share what we’ve learned with you!
In our 10-step Food Waste Reduction Toolkit, you’ll find useful takeaways and examples, including Canyon Market's approach to inventory management, the Bi-Rite Family of Business's strategies to build a robust, in-store culture promoting food waste reduction, how retailers are helping customers reduce more waste at home, best practices on enlisting your staff, and more. We’ve also developed an excel self-assessment checklist tool to help retailers take a look at their current food waste practices. We hope retailers of all sizes will use this new toolkit and the associated self-assessment tool to take their food waste work to the next level.
Below are just two examples of the ways our consultation participants are moving their food waste efforts forward:
- Alameda Natural Grocery in Alameda, CA instituted a “Second Cycle” produce sale area which will save an estimated 3,500 pounds of produce per year. They’re planning to expand the concept to their dairy department next.
- Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville, MN created a Green Team and has been gathering a baseline measure of food waste. They then plan to create a central communications channel specifically for departments to list their excess to facilitate repurposing.
The Food Waste Reduction Toolkit is truly a product of the industry and for the industry, highlighting simple, practical ways retailers can save money and reduce food waste. We are grateful to KeHE for making this project possible and to Dana Gunders at Next Course for being our partner in these efforts. We received over 25 applications to be part of our pilot phase and we hope to grow this work over the coming year. If you have questions or would like to get involved this year, please contact us at: [email protected].
“Our approach is simple, we partner with our customers’ full spectrum of needs. We focus on people, planet and purpose, which is validated by our B Corp certification. KeHE’s dedication to reducing food waste has resulted in a 17% reduction; an example of how we authentically lead in the good food industry.” – KeHE