Impact of Food Waste

80 %

of U.S. freshwater
consumption

50 %

of U.S. land usage

10 %

total U.S. energy
budget

The Cost of our
Food System

1/3

of food
is wasted

87%

caused by
perishable items

$18B

lost value
in retail (US)

Roughly 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption goes to waste. This issue is most prevalent in the developed world, with the US, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, and Canada being the most egregious.

According to food waste research done by ReFED, consumer facing businesses account for 40% of food waste, with retailers accounting for its largest amount. In the US alone, retailers generate roughly $18 billion a year in lost value due to waste, which is double the total net profits. Perishable products represent 87% of the waste volume.

Managing the inventory of fresh products in relation to expiring dates and the consumer’s attitudes towards them is thus the main challenge to minimize food waste throughout the retail supply chain.

Registered causes of food waste generation in a typical UE retail business

Source: Refresh Community of Experts

Waste occurs in every step
of the supply chain.

upstream

downstream

Impact of waste

When food is wasted, all the resources that were invested into its production,
distribution, and storage are wasted as well.

Carbon emission

3.3 B tons of greenhouse gas. If food waste were a country, it the 3rd GHG emitter after the US and China.

Water

250 km³ of surface and groundwater resources aproximately double the volume of Lake Tahoe

Land

Produced and uneaten food occupies 1.4 B hectares of land, ~30 % of the world's agricultural land area.

Biodiversity

Agriculture responsible for 66% of threats to species and monocultures threatening biodiversity

Impact of food waste
in numbers

GHG emissions

6 %

Uneaten food rots in landfills, where it accounts for nearly a quarter of all U.S. methane emissions, a greenhouse gas even more destructive than CO2. In the European Union, food waste is responsible for 6% of all GHG emissions.

Hunger

11 %

Despite food waste being a major issue, world hunger remains prevalent, affecting more than 800M people worldwide (11% of the global population).

most favoured option

pyramid
prevention
minimisation
reuse
recycling
energy recovery
disposal

least favoured option

Prevention is the most favored option in combating food waste

High potential solutions

ReFED identified 27 solutions to food waste. Wasteless
incorporates three of these solutions:

Waste diverted from
landfills

Economic value of
waste diverted ($/ ton)

Consumer education
campaigns

Dynamic price tags will make consumers more aware of expiration dates and waste

Improved inventory
management

Automatically track remaining shelf life and have smoother order forecasting

Secondary
reseller

Creates a secondary market
within the same store by offering lower prices for expiring goods

Wasteless helps tackle the food waste issue by preventing waste from unsold perishable products at the retail level. Meanwhile, consumers can make more sustainable purchase decisions, increasing their awareness towards waste and translating into less waste at the household level.

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