Every year between 30-40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste as it makes its way through the supply chain—that’s the countrywide equivalent of two out of five bags of groceries never making it onto your plate. That’s a staggering amount, especially when you consider that food production uses 10% of our total energy budget, 50% of our land and a whopping 80% of all freshwater consumed. In fact, producing the food we throw away generates more greenhouse gases than most entire countries do.
According to Dana Gunders, author of Waste Free Kitchen Handbook, food waste expert and staff scientist at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Americans are tossing out an average of $120 each month per household of four in the form of uneaten food. “That’s real money going straight into the garbage instead of paying off your credit card bills or adding to your savings account,” Gunders writes in her book.
As part of our mission to build a more sustainable food system, we’re committed to doing our part to turn this trend around. We asked the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), a leading global sustainability non-profit, to conduct a study to learn more about our impact on food waste. The study, which set out to compare a week of meals’ waste at Blue Apron versus the traditional grocery store, revealed that we reduce food waste by 62% in comparison. We’ve been able to achieve this thanks to our unique business model, which enables us to predict demand and work directly with farmers to grow only what’s needed for our recipes, as well as to pre-portion ingredients for our customers and donate to food banks across the country.
As proud as we are of that number, we recognize there’s still a lot of work to be done and that we can reduce our impact even further. So we’re working with a number of leaders in the food waste space, including Gunders, Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland and Pete Pearson of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), among others, to help advise us in our ongoing efforts to do even better. As we continue to work more closely with farmers, we aim to get to a place where there is zero waste in our system.
Your participation makes a difference, too. Check out our list of simple things you can do at home to help reduce food waste (and save money in the bargain)…
This is just the beginning of the conversation around food waste. In the coming months, we’ll be sharing our continued progress, along with more tips for simple things you can do at home. Together we can have an impact.
Here are a few of our favorite resources if you’d like to learn more:
- The NRDC and Ad Council’s “Save the Food” campaign website.
- The NRDC’s 2012 Wasted report by Dana Gunders.
- Gunders’ Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook.
- Journalist Jonathan Bloom’s American Wasteland
- Last but not least, this segment that recently aired on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (warning: colorful language ahead!)