NEW YORK (MainStreet) Americans have supersized food portions to the point of expanding waists and increasing waste. While producing food from farm to fork uses half of our land and 80% of our freshwater, 40% of that nourishment is wasted. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says we throw out more than 20 pounds of food per person per month, with a value of $165 billion each year.
Meanwhile, more than one in five Americans (21%) know someone who doesn't have enough to eat, according to a new Harris Poll. The NRDC says that by reducing food waste by just 15%, we could feed more than 25 million Americans every year.
"With so many people wanting for food in the U.S., it would be easy to think that there simply isn't enough to go around," says Mike de Vere, president of the Harris Poll, "but the sad fact is that if we could cut down on waste and get our surplus food to the right tables, we could feed as many as 25 million Americans. With more than one in five children at risk of hunger in our country, these are challenges we need to take seriously."
According to the survey, most respondents (76%) see the problem of hunger in the United States as either serious (53%) or very serious (22%). More than three-fourths of Americans (78%) say that wasting food is actually immoral. It is one issue that Americans feel should be a national priority: to feed hungry families in the United States (86%) before trying to solve the problem on a global level (85%).
The NRDC says the average American consumer wastes 50% more food than in the 1970s and ten times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia. Reducing waste to combat hunger is an issue that will be of growing concern in the years to come. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that food production must increase by 70% by 2050 to feed an expected global population of some 9.1 billion.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet