A publication of AAEA

A publication of AAEA
Examining Food Loss and Food Waste in the United States

Examining Food Loss and Food Waste in the United States

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Examining Food Loss and Food Waste in the United States

Kathryn A. Boys and Bradley J. Rickard

This collection of articles examines a range of contemporary food waste and food loss issues in farm, institutional foodservice, retail, and household settings. Taken together, this theme offers intriguing insights on various private and public efforts in the United States to better characterize, quantify, and reduce food waste and loss.

Putting Dollars to Waste: Estimating the Value of On-Farm Food Loss

Rebecca D. Dunning, Lisa K. Johnson, and Kathryn A. Boys

Unharvested produce may represent market inefficiencies and forgone farmer income. This article estimates costs and returns for select southeastern vegetable crops based on field estimates from North Carolina. Findings indicate that additional harvests are warranted in some cases and, when aggregated across the state, represent significant unrealized farm income.

Waste Not Want Not: Examining Plate Waste of Vegetables in Elementary School Lunches

Oral Capps Jr., Ariun Ishdorj, Peter S. Murano, Lindsey Field, Ashley Hutto, and Maureen Storey

We collected data on plate waste for all vegetables and by subgroup as well as the cost of waste from selected Texas elementary schools from April 2012 to January 2013. Plate waste for all vegetables exceeded 50%. The average waste cost per serving by vegetable subgroup varied from $0.03 to $0.22. Actual dollars lost averaged $9.37 to $20.06 per day per school.

Consumer Choice and Food Waste: Can Nudging Help?

Laura Andreea Bolos, Carl Johan Lagerkvist, and Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr.

Consumer food choices are affected among others by cultural habits and societal realities and play an important role in the amount of food wasted. This article focuses on investigating opportunities to shift retail practices in order to influence consumers at the point of purchase, specifally for fresh produce with cosmetic imperfections. Cognitive and behavioral nudges are suggested.

Are Consumers Willing to Pay to Reduce Food Waste?

Kara Grant, R. Karina Gallardo, and Jill J. McCluskey

We estimate consumers’ willingness to pay for reduced food waste by comparing choices between bundles of raw ingredients and ready-to-eat meals. Attributes included prices, food-waste percentages, and expiration dates associated with each option. Findings suggest that consumers are willing to pay premiums for reduced food waste and increased shelf life.

When in Doubt, Throw It Out! The Complicated Decision to Consume (or Waste) Food by Date Labels

Norbert L. W. Wilson, Ruiqing Miao, and Carter S. Weis

Consumers find food date labels confusing. Industry groups and policy makers intend to resolve the confusion by creating a single label for safety and another for quality. In a survey of consumers concerning anticipated consumption given various date labels, we find differential responses across products, leading us to conclude that new labels may not necessarily reduce waste.

Exploring Food Loss from Farm-to-Retail in the Produce Industry

Travis Minor, Claudia Hitaj, Fred Kuchler, Sharon Raszap Skorbiansky, Brian Roe, and Suzanne Thornsbury

This article summarizes discussions, insights, and lessons learned from a USDA workshop on food loss in the produce industry focusing on understanding contemporary issues surrounding food loss as they relate to the early (farm-to-retail) supply chain. Identification of the economic and financial decisions causing the issue in the first place is needed.