– In 2017, 30.6 million tons of food waste went to landfills. Money, time, and well-being is hurt every year due to the exorbitant amounts of wasted food on the planet.
– The $161 billion food waste problem is a complicated issue. Yes, we as humans could do better on an individual level to not waste, but other factors such as natural disasters, climate issues, and regulations can get in the way as well.
The world is filled with goodness, chaos, love, hate, atrocities, and blessings.
And thanks to the internet, we see these things… ALL THE TIME.
Having a constant news cycle isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we need to cry. Sometimes we need to laugh. And sometimes we need to be reminded that there is good and bad in this world.
Today we wanted to focus on some of the good – well actually, more than good.
There are companies working to eliminate the billions of pounds of food waste in the world, and they have some serious backers behind them.
To name a few of these companies:
- Apeel Sciences created a natural coating technology that helps mitigate water loss and oxidation.
- Regrained takes the grains breweries use to make delicious beer, turning them into nutrition bars and ingredients.
- Baldor is a food distributor making an attempt to have zero organic waste. They sell and send potential landfill candidates to chefs, animal feedlots, and other appropriate places.
- FoPo turns almost wasted fruits and veggies – into a nutritious super powder to be used in sauces, salads, and patties.
Yeah, people are amped up about not wasting food 🌮
But why is this important? How dire is the food waste crisis? Is it even a crisis at all?
The Food Waste Problem
Very few will argue that food isn’t important. It’s literally our fuel source.
However, it seems that we humans have made a couple of missteps in terms of sustainability (“couple of missteps” being an understatement).
Don’t believe us?
Here’s a little statement from the USDA:
“In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.” 
Now, there are two simple things we can glean from this statistic:
- That’s a lot of waste
- That’s a lot of money
Even if people don’t care about the ethics behind wasting food (sadly, some do not 😕 ), there’s still a fiscal argument to be made concerning the conservation of food.
Less food waste = less money waste.
The EPA also has some compelling data looking at municipal solid waste (MSW). This doesn’t include food waste geared by industrial manufacturing, processing, or wholesale and distribution industries.
They claim that:
“[…] 2.6 million tons of food waste was composted in 2017, or 6.3 percent of total food waste. Approximately 7.5 million tons of food waste was combusted with energy recovery, which was 22 percent of all MSW combusted with energy recovery, while 30.6 million tons of food waste went to landfills, representing 22 percent of all MSW landfilled.” 
Food waste is an expensive problem, and it’s not easy to fix. There’s a reason things have gotten this bad.
”Why can’t people just care more?”
This is a question many are asking in the midst of our current food waste crisis.
And to be honest, it’s not exactly a fair question.
Sure, there are plenty of things we can be doing individually to curb our food waste. For instance, in the video below, you can see a town in Japan that produces almost no trash or waste.
So yes, if we all worked together in harmony, the food waste crisis might just be a food waste problem. But this isn’t our current reality.
Take this NYT post as an example (written in April).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of gallons of milk are being dumped, hundreds of thousands of eggs are being tossed, and produce is being plowed back into fields.
This is all due to the lack of demand for fresh produce. The closing of restaurants, schools, hotels, and businesses left farmers without buyers for majority of their crops.
Now, at first glance, this may anger you. You might be thinking, “people are hungry! Why are they wasting that food?!”
But it’s not that simple. Many farmers are devastated over this waste. However, they don’t have a choice. Many are doing all they can to donate this food, but charities and foundations have limited refrigerators and space.
The cost of harvesting and transporting this food without profit would also be an extra financial strain on the farmers during the pandemic.
So… what are we to do in times such as these? What are we to do when a pandemic strikes?
As mentioned earlier, food waste is a problem – an actual 161 billion dollar problem that requires a complex solution.
And there are some awesome people teaming up to take food waste head on.
Some Cool Companies Eliminating Food Waste
Food waste is very close to our hearts here at Journey Foods. We are inspired by the waste and hunger warriors everyday.
We want to empower companies by helping them get the most optimized product and supply chain insights possible. This way, they can save money, eliminate environmental impact, and deliver quality treats to consumers.
But there are plenty of other fighters out there doing landfill rescue.
Here is a list of some cool companies making the earth better in a really cool way. We mentioned some earlier. Give them your support if you can 😎
- Apeel Sciences
- Loop Mission
- Wize Monkey
- Big Wheel Burger
- Dose Juice
- Food Recovery Network
- Forgotten Harvest
- Shake Shack
- DC Central Kitchen
- The Real Dill
- The Coffee Cherry Co
(Put in alphabetical order)
We’d love to hear from you!
If you have any questions or thoughts, throw them in the comments below.
You can also hit us up on LinkedIn or Twitter. We like making friends 🥰