Any liquid or solid food produced for consumption which is discarded for any reason can be considered food waste. Food waste is regarded as a widespread problem throughout the food industry and occurs at every step along the supply chain. The total amount of food waste produced in the United States is estimated to be close to 106 million tons per year.
Sources of food waste
Industrial food processing and manufacturing are the leading sources of food waste in the United States. Approximately Approximately 39 percent of U.S. food waste is produced in this sector. If the commercial operations of retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, and food services are combined, they make up the second biggest source of U.S. food waste. However, taken individually, they would be smaller than the residential sector which produced about 24 percent of food waste in the United States. Most wasted food ends up in landfills, is fed to animals, or gets used for anaerobic digestion. It's important to note that there is a huge difference in how food waste gets managed depending on where its produced. Food waste from manufacturing and processing is much more likely to be used for anaerobic digestion or as animal feed. Food waste from the operations of retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, food services, and the residential sector is much more likely to be disposed of in landfills. When it comes to the management of wasted food in the U.S. only a small portion ends up as a donation.
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Research expert covering food & agriculture in the UK & Europe