Food waste is also the single largest constituent of municipal landfills and the third largest source of methane in the U.S.
Europe is leading by example. Over the past five years, Denmark has cut food waste by 25% through a grocery chain that sells mislabeled, misshapen, expired, and otherwise unsellable products. Think crushed cereal boxes, or conjoined produce—products that might not look so hot on the shelf but are, for all intents and purposes, fine to eat. And popular U.K. chain Tesco just announced that they will begin donating unsold food at the end of each day instead of tossing it.
While we’ve seen small-scale versions of these programs stateside—a “surplus goods” grocery store in Boston, for example, or Panera’s “Day-End Dough-Nation,” which sends unsold bread and baked goods to local hunger relief organizations—consuming food that’s older or “off" is at odds with the very systemized, mass-produced approach to food in the U.S.