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The most wasted supermarket vegetables are these specific greens

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service analyzed data from a supermarket shrink report and concluded something many retailers could already tell you:

Endive is a tough sell in the US.

This chart, released by the ERS, compared fresh vegetables in terms of volume in stores and amount of loss. Escarole/endive had the smallest volume among the produce selected, but was one of the top losses.

Click the chart to read more about fresh produce shrink.

Turnip, mustard and collard greens also had low volumes and high rates of loss, compared to higher volume things like potatoes, tomatoes, leaf lettuce and onions.

The chart was released concurrently with the new USDA, Environmental Protection Agency and FDA strategy to reduce food waste as part of the Trump administration’s Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month.

“The new strategy prioritizes six key action areas, such as improving consumer education and food labeling, that will help us maximize the value of our food resources,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, in a news release.

The six areas identified for action, detailed here, are:

  1. Enhance Interagency Coordination
  2. Increase Consumer Education and Outreach Efforts
  3. Improve Coordination and Guidance on Food Loss and Waste Measurement
  4. Clarify and Communicate Information on Food Safety, Food Date Labels, and Food Donations
  5. Collaborate with Private Industry to Reduce Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain
  6. Encourage Food Waste Reduction by Federal Agencies in their Respective Facilities

Frank Yiannas, former Vice President of Food Safety for Walmart Stores Inc. and a new FDA Deputy Commissioner, also stressed the importance of keeping food safety and food waste connected.

“The issue of food safety and food waste are intertwined, with research showing that there is confusion over the meaning behind date labeling terminology on food packages that have an adverse effect on food waste. Contrary to popular beliefs, date labeling on food packages are often intended to communicate time ranges for optimal food quality, not safety,” Yiannas said, in the news release. “With more than one-third of all available food uneaten through waste or loss and 1 in 6 Americans suffering a foodborne illness each year, it’s clear that many people are unnecessarily discarding food in fear of food safety issues. This is why the FDA is focused on taking steps to make date labeling on foods clearer and easier for consumers to determine when a food should be discarded. We remain committed to working with the EPA and USDA to better educate Americans on how to reduce food waste and how to do it safely.”


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.