In a new paper published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS One, Kevin Hall and colleagues at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases calculate the energy content of nationwide food waste from the difference between the US food supply and the food eaten by the population.
The researchers found that US per capita food waste has progressively increased by about 50% since 1974 reaching more than 1400 Calories per person per day or 150 trillion Calories per year.
Hall and colleagues suggest that addressing the oversupply of food energy in the US could help curb to the obesity epidemic as well as reduce food waste, which would have profound consequences for the environment and natural resources. For example, food waste is now estimated to account for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and more than 300 million barrels of oil per year representing about 4% of the total US oil consumption.
As Raj points out at Stuffed and Starved, this is about as many calories as Haitians get in a day–being thrown in the trash or lost in the food prep system.
Something to think about on the day after Thanksgiving…