North America has a huge problem with wasting food. It is estimated that forty percent of the food supply in the United States ends up in landfills, despite one in seven American families struggling to put regular meals on the table.
In 2010 alone, American supermarkets threw away 43 billion pounds of food, worth about $46.7 billion dollars according to the u.S. Department of Agriculture. This is why grocery stores are key to making a nationwide change in food waste practices. In fact, some bills have already been introduced in Congress that could reduce food waste, including one that would protect stores who donated food from lawsuits if recipients get sick and one that will establish a uniform food dating system that will make expiration dates clearer.
Some European countries have recently passed laws against food waste with great success. France and Italy both have laws requiring supermarkets to compost or donate food that is approaching its expiration date. The European Union has similar laws in the works, which will impact food waste in 28 countries.
Supermarkets and restaurants have proven before that they can band together to make major changes. Last year, a number of chain restaurants vowed to only use cage-free eggs and major grocers like Walmart have joined the movement too. If stores can change the farming industry, reducing food waste should be a breeze.