What Grocery Store Waste Costs You

This from this week’s Parade Magazine:

Food prices are rising, but your grocery bill might be lower if you weren’t paying for an estimated $20 billion worth of food that supermarkets throw away each year. Stores in the U.S. waste twice as much food annually as those in Europe, and a recent U.N. report found that total American food waste—including what we pitch from our refrigerators—is worth $48 billion each year. One reason is that, since food travels 1500 miles on average to reach your plate, some of it spoils in transit. Also, Americans are used to huge displays of fresh food at the grocery store, so some produce is piled up for decoration rather than sold. But now supermarkets are trying to cut waste—or at least find more environmentally friendly ways to handle it. Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover has reduced the number of items on display and asked suppliers to use smaller boxes, resulting in less waste. Supermarkets in Nashua, N.H., and Deerfield Beach, Fla., make compost out of spoiled produce, meat, and even flowers. Still, keeping food from the trash pile in the first place would be best. “We waste between a quarter and a half of all the food we produce,” says Jonathan Bloom, a journalist who blogs about food waste. “If there’s a silver lining to today’s rising grocery prices, it may be that they force us to value our food more.”

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