Most Americans waste more food than they believe, and only one in 10 worries about the environmental harm posed by discarded food, a new study shows.
About the study:
- Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 consumers across the nation in April 2014.
- Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they believed they wasted less food than the national average, according to the findings published in the journal PLOS ONE.
- Roni Neff, director of the Food System Sustainability and Public Health Program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health stated that though Americans perceive themselves wasting little amounts of food, in reality they are wasting much more.
- Between 31 and 40 percent of the American food supply goes to waste, primarily in homes, stores and restaurants, according to the researchers.
- Each year, food waste costs Americans more than $161 billion, the researchers say.
- The top reasons respondents gave for wasting food were safety concerns and a desire to eat only the freshest food.
- Only 10 percent of respondents said that environmental concerns were a very important reason for not wasting food.
- For policymakers, the findings suggest a need to make date labels clear and consistent, and to attach sell by labels so they do not mislead consumer
- Roni Neff further stated that, consumer waste of food in the U.S. represents a serious threat, reducing it may improve food security, nutrition, budgets, environment and public health.