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    The benefits of each of these solutions outweigh the costs.

    Choose a filter button or bar to see the impacts of each solution.

    • Financial Benefit
    • Waste Diverted
    • Emissions Reduced
    • Water Saved
    • Jobs Created
    • Meals Recovered

    The aggregate financial benefit to society (consumers, businesses, governments, and other stakeholders) minus all investment and costs per ton of food waste diverted. It shows the amount of benefit received per ton of reduction and is calculated as the Economic Value per Ton.

    Tap on the bars below to see the details for each solution.


    • Consumer Education Campaigns
    • Standardized Date Labeling
    • Packaging Adjustments
    • Donation Matching Software
    • Standardized Donation Regulation
    • Value-Added Processing
    • Donation Liability Education
    • Donation Storage & Handling
    • Spoilage Prevention Packaging
    • Donation Transportation
    • Waste Tracking & Analytics
    • Trayless Dining
    • Smaller Plates
    • Manufacturing Line Optimization
    • Cold Chain Management
    • Donation Tax Incentives
    • Improved Inventory Management
    • Produce Specifications (Imperfect Produce)
    • Secondary Resellers
    • Home Composting
    • Commercial Greywater
    • Centralized Anaerobic Digestion (AD)
    • Centralized Composting
    • Water Resources Recovery Facility (WRRF) with AD
    • Animal Feed
    • Community Composting
    • In-Vessel Composting
    Download Data Set

    The multi-billion dollar food waste problem

    Every year, American consumers, businesses, and farms spends $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, transporting, and disposing food that is never eaten. That’s 52 million tons of food sent to landfill annually, plus another 10 million tons that is discarded or left unharvested on farms. Meanwhile, one in seven Americans is food insecure.

    Food waste consumes:

    • 21%
      of all fresh water

    • 19%
      of all fertilizer

    • 18%
      of cropland

    • 21%
      of landfill volume

    Food wasted by weight - 63 million tons

    Waste occurs throughout the supply chain, with nearly 85% occurring downstream at consumer-facing businesses and homes.


    Financial Waste - $218 Billion

    The financial cost of food waste is greatest for consumers since they pay retail prices for food, while consumer-facing businesses pay lower wholesale rates.


    We can reduce waste by 50%

    20% in the near term

    ReFED’s analysis of the top prevention, recovery, and recycling solutions shows that 13.2 million tons — over 20% of annual food waste — can be reduced over the next decade in cost-effective and scalable ways.

    50% by 2030

    Beyond this near-term 20% roadmap, ReFED has also identified the critical innovations, initiatives, policies, and awareness-building work required to reach the longer-term 50% reduction goal by 2030 as set by the federal government.

    View Solution Details  >

    About ReFED

    ReFED is a national nonprofit working to working to end food loss and waste across the U.S. food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. ReFED leverages data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilizes and connects people to take targeted action; and catalyzes capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. Our goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow. 

    ReFED’s work is made possible with generous support from and in partnership with our funders:

    About logos

    *The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation or The Kroger Co.
    *NIELSEN and the Nielsen logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of The Nielsen Company (US), LLC in the United States and other countries. Used with permission. ®

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