Most commonly wasted food types in the U.S. 2017

The United States is one of the largest per capita wasters of food in the world, reaching 278 kilograms per year. The most common types of food waste tend to be perishable items like dairy and meat products, as well as fresh produce. Some 50 percent of respondents from the United States stated that they throw away dairy products that have gone bad most often. There is a lot of this wasted food that ends up being disposed of in landfills, rather than composted. It is estimated that there is over 60 million tons of food wasted each year.

The problem with food waste

Food waste is largely accumulated by consumers at home; however, to address the problem of food waste, other food distributors such as farms, grocery stores, and restaurants must also be considered. Food waste contributes to a lot of urgent global and domestic problems. Using just a portion of the food waste produced could end the problem of food security within the U.S. if it was properly distributed. Environmentally, both growing and transporting food requires resources like land and water, and ultimately produces greenhouse gas emissions. As a significant share of food is just thrown away, this creates a heavy and wasteful toll on environmental systems. Additionally, food waste contributes to economic loss for all parties along the supply chain. In the United States, food waste may be due to a variety of reasons, including expiration date confusion, wasteful practices at home, and overly large portions.

In the cases where you have not been able to use your groceries before they turned bad, what kind of food do you throw away most often?

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Release date

April 2017


United States

Survey time period

March 20 to 29, 2017

Number of respondents

980 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Respondents could choose more than one answer.

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Statistics on "Food and drink waste in the UK"

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