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Report shows retailers reducing food waste

pacific coast food waste report

A new study from the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment—the public-private partnership between food businesses and jurisdictions on the West Coast to cut food waste in the region—shows that grocery retailers made the most significant progress ever reported in the United States on reducing food waste in the retail sector.

The analysis shows that over the three-year period from 2019 to 2022 (the latest year for which data is available), grocery retailers decreased the number of tons of unsold food in their regional operations by 25%— nearly 190,000 tons of food valued at $311 million—which represents a decrease in the amount of food at risk of going to waste.

Most unsold food typically ends up going to waste destinations like landfill, where it decomposes and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Yet in addition to the decrease in the amount of unsold food, the study also identified positive trends for where that unsold food ended up, including a 20% increase in the rate of unsold food being donated and a 28% increase in the rate of unsold food getting composted.

What’s more, the analysis found that the three-year decline in unsold food led to an estimated 30% decrease in the total carbon footprint of unsold food in the region—the equivalent to taking nearly 270,000 passenger vehicles off the road annually—and other significant impacts.

Dana Gunders, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment, says in the more than a decade I’ve spent focused on the issue, this is by far the largest proof point we’ve ever seen using actual data that’s pointing to real food waste reductions at scale.

And it’s particularly exciting to see the holistic nature of this progress. We’re not only seeing prevention numbers that far exceeded our expectations, but we’re also seeing increases in donations and composting. I really applaud our retail partners for the enormous effort they’ve put in—individually and as part of the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment—to achieve this win for people and the planet.

You can read the report at the link below and please join us on April 16 for a special webinar to learn more!