food wasteBy Christine Blank

Grocery retailers, food chemical companies and others are leading the charge in tackling food waste, according to experts speaking at the FIRST session, “Tackling the Food Waste Crisis: Unique Perspectives on Sustainability and Effective Ways for Helping Consumers to Reduce Their Food Waste.”

Large grocery chains are making commitments to reducing food waste. Kroger, for example, committed to zero food waste by 2025, says Rebecca Shurhay, marketing analyst at Flavorchem.

Grocers are also utilizing data platform apps that can detect when perishable items are going to be reaching their expiration dates. For example, a grocery chain is conducting a pilot project with Flashfood, which notifies consumers when perishables are nearing their expiration dates. Flashfood offers significant savings on these items, which consumers can purchase directly from the app for pick up in the store, explains Shurhay.

Meanwhile, Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and other startups are tackling the upcycling of food — utilizing ingredients such as “ugly produce” that otherwise would not have made it to human consumption, Shurhay said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also getting the word out to retailers and foodservice operators that imperfect produce is just as nutritious and edible as conventional and that surplus food “doesn't have to go into a dumpster,” says Kevin Smith, senior advisor for the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

“There are lots of channels to get surplus to the people who need it, whether it's ideally fed to people, but there are also channels to help divert food to animal feed. And, if nothing else, then the value of composting and diversion away from landfills, which is just creating too many problems,” advises Smith.

In addition, the FDA is educating consumers that dates on packaged foods are there “for reasons other than to warn people when food would become unsafe,” says Smith. "We are attempting to educate the public that just because a food passes a quality date, does not mean it's time to throw it out. Use it, and also make smart choices about your purchasing and how you prepare and plan your menus, and how people use their food. We really just have to kind of educate folks on what makes sense.”


Register for FIRST to view this session and 100+ more—available on demand through Dec. 31, 2021.

Christine Blank is a freelance journalist based in Orland, Fla.

Digital Exclusives right arrow

10 Food Trend Predictions for 2022

The editors at Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), have announced their predictions for the hottest food trends for 2022.

When Science Follows Technology

While canning is commonplace today, for that generation of food technologists it was a paradigmatic example of the power of science to change food for the better.

Ingredient Companies Seek Sodium Reduction Solutions

In October 2021, the FDA released new voluntary guidance on sodium reduction with the overarching goal of reducing consumption by 12% over the next two-and-a-half years.

North American Consumers Get Comfortable With Cannabis

What changes have occurred in the way Canadians perceive cannabis since it was legalized there in 2018? How do Canadian and U.S. consumers of cannabis and edibles compare?

Food Technology Articles right arrow

Getting Strategic About Sustainability

Long a man on a mission, Arlin Wasserman works to help food companies make good business decisions that are also good for people and planet.

Free range French toast, Kelp puff snacks, Ready-to-eat Indian cuisine

Hot new products include crunchy snacks made from seaweed, pre-mixed spices for easy Indian cooking, and a healthier version of microwave mac & cheese.

The psychology of price increases, New U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends

Recent Brain Food right arrow

DEI Case Study: IFT Revamps Long-Time Scholarship Program

In an effort to provide the science of food community with actionable information that can be used in their own DEI efforts, IFT shares a case study of its recent effort to increase accessibility and inclusivity in its scholarship program.

IFT Scientists' Top 5 Food Trends to Consider in 2022

What's on the horizon for the global food system in 2022? IFT’s Science and Policy Initiatives team gives their predictions on five trends that are expected to take shape in the new year. 

Helping Consumers Follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

New Journal of Food Science article identifies opportunities to help consumers follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans