What's Your Number?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new report on food waste this month on The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States. The latest numbers on the food waste issue are (not surprisingly) staggering: in 2010, food losses equated to $161.6 billion in the U.S. based on retail prices. 31 percent of the food produced was wasted, meaning not available for human consumption at the retail and consumer levels, weighing in at 133 billion pounds.
These updated reports and figures remind us that the scope of the food waste problem is enormous. We remain optimistic, however, in our mission at LeanPath to work with our clients to take a bite out of this food waste crisis. We must each focus on what we can control and change. In foodservice, there is a significant opportunity to dial in purchasing, production and menus, to prevent avoidable food waste. How can we do this? By understanding the data (what’s being thrown away and why) and by taking action to prevent it.
Numbers get people’s attention. Just like these reports draw attention to the food waste issue at the national level, the same is true at the operational level. Except we have to go beyond evaluating the problem, and start honing in on where we can start to fix it. That’s the true power of data.