UPDATED: USDA estimates retail and consumer food loss

02/24/2014 05:26:00 PM
Tom Karst

The PMA’s Fresh Summit expo had a session on food waste last year, including the perspective of the Food Waste Prevention Alliance,  Means said.  Some industry operators have begun to install anaerobic digesters to reduce food and to limit what goes to the landfill. More clarity by consumers about what use-by dates mean may also be needed to reduce food waste, Means said. 

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Rod Averbuch    
Chicago IL  |  February, 24, 2014 at 06:49 PM

The large amount of food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers. We should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of perishable food items close to their expiration on supermarket shelves causes waste. The consumer “Last In First Out” shopping behavior might be one of the weakest links of the fresh food supply chain. Why not utilize the new open GS1 DataBar standard to encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill? The “End Grocery Waste” application, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint. You can look this application up at EndGroceryWaste site. Rod, Chicago, IL

Rick Bella    
Chicago  |  February, 25, 2014 at 08:31 AM

Great points Rod! I also remember years ago that retail prices reflected the true "market" of fresh foods moving up and down each week to keep food moving through the supply chain. Today, I notice that many retail prices remain the same no matter what the current "supply" really is of that particular commodity. I was told that this is due to restocking costs at retail, but do retailers really need to sell apples for $2.29 per pound when a delivered price could be .50 cents, for example? Seems like new ways of pricing have cut out the consumers chance for taking part in an abundance of food. Sure markets seem to swing up when necessary, but I don't see the drops as fast. Just a thought.

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