According to a recent report looking at food waste in the U.S., a significant amount of waste actually begins out in the fields of production. An estimated 40 percent of food goes uneaten in the U.S., with significant study already having been done on waste at the distribution, retail and consumer levels.
A team of researchers at the University of Santa Clara has determined that approximately 33 percent of food that’s grown goes unharvested. Growers typically estimate the amount of produce that will be deemed unmarketable and left in the fields, but the research suggested that those estimates can be far too conservative.
Data collected on more than 100 farms in northern and central California showed that in-field food waste can exceed a growers’ estimates by as much as 157 percent depending on the crop. There is hope that a better understanding of the magnitude of in-field food loss can lead to potential solutions to address it; such as increasing the market for direct-to-consumer sales of imperfect produce.
Listen to the report below.