Change your shopping habits to reduce food waste

old man carrying grocery bags

Shoppers need to think about food waste before they go to the store, rather than figuring out what to do with it at home.

Much discussion revolves around how we’re going to feed the planet’s burgeoning population, and yet Americans continue to throw away 30 to 40 percent of food they’ve purchased on a daily basis. Addressing this serious issue would free up tremendous amounts of food and go a long ways toward resolving the greater question of how to feed the world’s billions.

Consumers often think of reducing their personal food waste in terms of what to do with food once it comes home from the store, i.e. trying new recipes, focusing on eating at home, eating food in order of perishability. But researcher Victoria Ligon, from the University of Arizona, says consumers need to think about food waste before they’ve even gone to the store.

In a qualitative investigation that Ligon conducted, she tracked shopping and food preparation patterns, interviewed participants, and followed food diaries in order to “understand how people acquire, prepare, consume, and discard food."

She concluded: “The problem is that people are not shopping frequently enough, which sounds counterintuitive. It seems that people in this country are very price sensitive at the grocery store, but tend to overlook the cost of discarded and unused food at home.”

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