Food waste is a major issue in the US. About 40% of food in the US is never eaten. Meanwhile, 1 in every 8 Americans struggles to put food on the table. The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) has been doing a lot of work to decrease food waste in our country. The US has also set its first ever goal to reduce food waste, aiming to decrease food wasted by 50% by 2030. The NRDC has started two major initiatives when it comes to decreasing food waste: (1) standardizing food labels and (2) changing policy when it comes to food donations.
To address the first issue, we need to first get past a common thought that is not always correct: when we see a date on a food item has passed, we might think that means that the food would be unhealthy to consume past that date. However, the date on food labels is actually just a suggestion from the manufacturer for when the food is at its peak freshness and quality. How do we educate Americans on what the dates on food labels actually mean? Further, is this a problem of education or changing how the industry actually decides what date to put on food labels?
With regards to the second issue being addressed by the NRDC, changing policy when it comes to food donations, it is important to know the policies that exist currently. In the US, we do have incentives for people to donate food. These include tax benefits and liability protection for food donations. The NRDC is currently working to provide even better tax benefits to further incentivize food donations across the country. How do you think we could encourage food donations from Americans in other ways besides tax benefits? Do you have any other ideas on decreasing food waste across the country?