U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the inaugural class of the U.S. Food Loss & Waste 2030 Champions — U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations 50% by 2030.
Champions announced include Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appétit Management Co., Campbell Soup Co., Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Kellogg Co., PepsiCo, Sodexo, Unilever, Walmart, Wegman’s Food Markets, Weis Markets and YUM! Brands.
“The founding 2030 champions have shown exceptional leadership in the fight to reduce, recover and recycle food loss and waste,” Vilsack said. “The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. To help galvanize U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the first U.S. food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015. Today, the first 15 champions are stepping up to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal.”
“Reducing food waste is good for business, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for our communities,” McCarthy added. “We need leaders in every field and every sector to help us reach our food loss goal. That’s why we’re excited to work with the 2030 champions and others across the food retail industry as we work together to ensure that we feed families instead of landfills.”
EPA estimates that, in the U.S., more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in everyday trash — about 21% of the waste stream. Keeping wholesome and nutritious food in America's communities and out of landfills helps communities and the 42 million Americans who live in food-insecure households. Reducing food waste also affects climate change, as 20% of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills.
Each 2030 champion establishes a baseline marking where they are today and will measure and report on their progress toward the goal in a way that makes sense for their organization. There are many ways to look at food loss and waste, and definitions vary. The 2030 champions are encouraged to consult the Food Loss & Waste Protocol for information on defining and transparently measuring food loss and waste.
For food waste in the U.S., EPA’s "Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts & Figures" provides an estimate of the amount of food going to landfills from residences, commercial establishments like grocery stores and restaurants, institutional sources like school cafeterias and industrial sources like factory lunchrooms. USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates that the amount of food that went uneaten at the retail and consumer levels in the baseline year of 2010 represented 31% of the available food supply, or about 133 billion lb. of food worth an estimated $161.6 billion.
Cutting food waste in half by 2030 will take a sustained commitment from everyone. Success requires action from the entire food system, including the food industry, nonprofits, governments and individuals.
USDA research estimates that about 90 billion lb. come from consumers, costing $370 per person every year. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion produces a resource called "Let’s Talk Trash" that focuses on consumer education, highlighting key data and action steps consumers can take to reduce food waste.
Details on becoming a U.S. Food Loss & Waste 2030 Champion can be found at www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste and www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food. Businesses not yet in a position to make the 50% reduction commitment can participate in the Food Recovery Challenge or the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.