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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 collaboration of over 50 business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing food waste in the United States. ReFED seeks to unlock new philanthropic and investment capital, along with technology, business, and policy innovation, which is projected to catalyze tens of thousands of new jobs, recover billions of meals annually for the hungry, and reduce national water use and greenhouse gas emissions. ReFED was formed in early 2015 to create The Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste, the first ever national economic study and action plan driven by a multi-stakeholder group committed to tackling food waste at scale.

    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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