Ideas and Impact

Reducing Food Waste by Changing How Consumers Interact with Food

This guide describes promising opportunities to reduce food waste in three areas—packaging, food retail, and home kitchens—and discusses a number of solutions that could be piloted, validated, and scaled to significantly reduce food waste in America.

Every year, an estimated 62.5 million tons of food are wasted in the US. This guide discusses three opportunities to dramatically reduce this food waste: 1) bringing packaging solutions to scale, 2) rethinking retail practices, and 3) revamping the home kitchen experience. Within each of these areas, we identify tactical ideas for implementation as well as barriers that need to be overcome. These barriers include deep-rooted consumer attitudes and behaviors, the difficulty of introducing and accepting change within the food industry, and the fact that not all proposed solutions are universally feasible or accepted.

To create this report, we interviewed 40 experts from across the food system as well as other sectors to understand where they see food waste opportunities. Upon using these findings to identify the highest-potential solutions, we gathered input from an additional 30 cross-sector insiders on the necessary steps for implementation. We urge stakeholders from across the food system to collaborate toward the reduction of food waste, and we believe philanthropic support could accelerate many of our proposed solutions.

Download Full PDF