Published on 1st May 2017


Food that ends up in our bins could provide us with valuable nutrition, and could also provide essential nutrients to families that suffer from food insecurity.

Whilst wasted food is usually reported in terms of financial cost, a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (1) investigated the nutritional value of food waste in America. Currently it is estimated that in the US, around 1,217 calories per person per day gets thrown away, roughly half of the recommended calorific intake for the average man. But the study found that important nutrients such as vitamin D, potassium and fibre also get wasted every day.

It has been proposed that consumer education and standardised use-by dates would help consumers make the most of such nutrients rather than throwing them away. However, this still may not help nutritious food get to those who are currently going without. According to the report, in 2014, 14 per cent of US households experienced food insecurity whilst an additional five per cent were forced to skip meals or reduce the amount they ate because of a shortage of resources.

It is more likely, however, that the households that are throwing food away have too much, rather than too little. So, although it would help such households save money, it could be argued that the study highlights the need to do more at the commercial level to give excess food to food banks to prevent it from going to waste.


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