Published in the November 2014 issue of National Geographic magazine
How much food never makes it from the market to your mouth? According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report on food loss, quite a lot. In 2010, 21 percent of food at the consumer level went uneaten. USDA defines food loss as “the amount of edible food, post-harvest, that is available for human consumption but is not consumed.” It includes half-eaten pasta left at a café, scraps from food preparation, and sour milk a family pours down the drain. “It’s lost in bits and pieces along the way,” says scientist Dana Gunders. That means, she says, that small changes by consumers will add up.
—Lindsay N. Smith