By Alison Bodor, President & CEO
American Frozen Food Institute
Reducing or eliminating household food waste can be a challenge, but it can also make a big impact on your family’s bottom line. The average American family throws out an estimated 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In a year, a family of four will lose between $1,350 and $2,275 on wasted food, the NRDC says.
About 40 percent of the food produced in America each year is never eaten, so the water, fuel and labor that went into growing that food is also wasted. This totals nearly $162 billion lost every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It’s time to bring frozen foods into the food waste conversation. There are also many things individual consumers can do to fight food waste in their own homes. Here are my top three tips for how households can shop smarter to save more:
- Understand what food labels mean. Sell by? Best by? Use before? There are multiple labels on food packaging, and it’s difficult to keep them all straight. It’s no wonder that confusion over food labels accounts for as much as 20 percent of consumer waste. That’s why the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) supports using the “BEST if Used By” and “USE By” labels. The “BEST if Used By” label will indicate to consumers that after the specified date, the product may not taste or perform as expected but is still safe to consume. The “USE By” date will inform consumers that the products should be consumed on or before the date listed on the package.
- Choose frozen foods when possible. A recent study published in the British Food Journal revealed that frozen food generates nearly 50 percent less food waste than other foods. Why? Because it gives consumers the option to use what they need today and save the rest for tomorrow. Plus, frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness and flash frozen to lock in nutrients and flavor. AFFI has created numerous food waste resources that can be accessed here.
- Plan your grocery list around your week. If you know you only have time to grocery shop once a week, buy a few days’ worth of fresh produce and meat and plan to fill in the rest of the week’s menu with the variety of options available in the frozen food aisle.
With these three tips, your family will be well on its way to saving that extra $1,500 a year. Want to learn more about how frozen food can help you bust food waste? Check out www.frozenfoodfacts.org.
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