Greater Good Blog

Five Ways to Dramatically Reduce Food Waste

Eric Kessler
Five Ways to Dramatically Reduce Food Waste

The food we leave on our plates, that we let linger on our shelves too long, that stores and restaurants toss, and that farmers leave in fields negatively affects our health, our economy, and our environment. These on-the-ground solutions are springboards to a more resilient and productive food system.

Kessler_IMG_1929American consumers and businesses send 52 million tons of food to landfills every year, adding up to $218 billion worth of food and comprising up to 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP. Producing food that then goes to waste unnecessarily depletes US farmlands and rivers, causing serious harm to the environment. Meanwhile, 42 million Americans experience food insecurity. To address this issue, Arabella Advisors identified transformational opportunities and implementation requirements to accelerate food waste reduction. As part of this work, we’ve highlighted five ways that funders, advocates, and business leaders who are interested in hunger, nutrition, agriculture, economic development, or sustainability can help create a food system that more efficiently and effectively distributes food and that preserves our land, water, and other natural resources.

These intervention areas build on the substantial work already underway to reduce food waste, such as that of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, and the ReFED coalition. Arabella built on ReFED’s March 2016 report by interviewing over 100 experts, including those outside the food waste field—hearing from those across the food industry as well as consumers, investors, funders, academics, culinarians, and environmentalists. The resulting report—commissioned by the New Venture Fund with support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise initiative—explores how we can drastically reduce food waste on a broad scale by implementing the ideas below:

Our work in this area is ongoing, and later this year we will release a set of guides that highlight interventions that are ready for testing and scaling. We welcome your thoughts and encourage you to join the food waste movement.


Eric Kessler is the founder and senior managing director of Arabella Advisors. For over a decade, he has helped Arabella’s clients achieve their philanthropic goals by designing grant-making strategies, mounting advocacy campaigns, evaluating impact, increasing operational efficiency, and building impact investing portfolios. Eric now leads Arabella’s Good Food practice.

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