Giving Compass' Take:

• In this podcast, Regina Anderson of the Food Recovery Network and Erica Brooks of the White Pony Express explore their food recovery process and discuss the decline of food waste recently. 

• How are you supporting the reduction of food waste?  

• Here are five ways you can reduce food waste. 

After a sharp increase in food waste following the outbreak of COVID-19, Dana Gunders, Executive Director of ReFED finds that the rate of food waste in the United States may be steadying.

Prior to the pandemic, ReFED, a nonprofit committed to reducing food waste, found that 63 million tons of food goes to waste each year in the U.S. alone. Once COVID-19 hit, food waste only worsened.

“When the pandemic first happened there was a lot of extra waste,” Gunders tells Food Tank. She explains that the sudden closures of businesses created bottlenecks in supply chains. As a result, food could not reach people fast enough.

But after several months, Gunders believes that food waste in the country is reaching a new equilibrium. And while occasional supply chains disruptions are still occurring, she believes that the changes the country is seeing may have positive long-term implications for the future of food waste.

“I think there are some really promising changes that have happened through [the pandemic] that, in the long run, could lead to less waste,” she tells Food Tank.

Gunders explains that the pandemic has forced many restaurants to shift away from buffet models, a major contributor of food waste. She also says that restaurants, uncertain of their business, are offering smaller menus and, as a result, are keeping smaller inventories.

Gunders also notices behavioral changes among home cooks. As people try to make fewer trips to grocery stores, she says that they are planning meals and working to stretch their food further.

Read the full article about rate of food waste by Elena Seeley at Food Tank.