TORONTO, Nov 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In a bid to reduce some of the 80 billion pounds (36 billion kg) of food discarded in the United States every year, grocery chains, manufacturers and others announced initiatives on Tuesday in line with a government goal of halving food waste by 2030.
While consumers are responsible for 40 percent of waste, businesses along the food supply chain are responsible for most of the rest, said Meghan Stasz, sustainability director for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, an industry group.
Under the plan, Campbell Soup Co. is partnering with farmers in New Jersey to turn small peaches which cannot be sold directly to consumers into salsa, the proceeds of which benefit food banks.
Grocery chains including Hannaford Supermarkets and Weis Markets are trying to streamline their donation programs to keep more food out of land fills, and food service firms such as Sodexo and Aramark are reducing the amount of waste in cafeterias by getting rid of trays.
Individual consumers are responsible for about 40 percent of U.S. food waste, while businesses account for the rest, said Stasz.
“There is a business case to be made for reducing waste,” Stasz told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
One in seven Americans suffer from food insecurity, a term for having access to food limited by a lack of money and resources, and food waste has an environmental impact, she added.
By learning from examples of what companies are doing to tighten their supply chains to reduce waste, she said she hopes other firms will be able to move forward as well.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama in September announced a goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent over the next 15 years.
U.S. officials said the reduction would cut harmful methane emissions from food rotting in land fills as well as help to care for people who face food insecurity.
The member states of the United Nations in September adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals as an agenda to be reached by 2030, one of which was to end hunger and achieve food security.
About one third of all food produced on earth is wasted, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, more than enough to feed all of the 795 million people who go to bed hungry every night. (Reporting by Chris Arsenault. Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)