Reducing Food Loss and Waste


By Lowell Randel
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft national strategy intended to make progress toward the national goal to reduce food loss and waste in the United States by 50% by 2030. The rollout of this strategy holds great potential to showcase the vital role that the cold chain plays, and GCCA is committed to doing that.

The strategy cities data showing that in the United States, the average family of four spends  $1,500 each year on food that ends up uneaten. It goes on to report that there are 66 million tons of food in the U.S. municipal waste stream. Food is also the single most common material found in landfills, comprising 24% of municipal solid waste in landfills. It’s estimated that in 2021, food loss and waste and surplus food was valued at $444 billion, which represent roughly 2% of the U.S. gross domestic product.

The goals of the National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics are to prevent the loss and waste pf food, where possible: increase recycling of food and other organic materials to support a more circular economy for all, reduce greenhouse ga emissions (GHG), save households and business money, and build cleaner, healthier communities.

Implementation of the strategy is intended to provide social and economic benefits such as:
1. Increasing food access for food-insecure Americans and increase the recovery and donation rate of wholesome food, for example through the emergency food system
2. Creating materials management or food waste reducing innovation-related new jobs, industries, and sectors of the economy
3. Increasing supply chain resiliency
4. Delivering financial savings to house-holds

The National Strategy proposes the following four objectives:
1. Prevent food loss where possible
2. Prevent food waste where possible
3. Increase the recycling rate for all organic waste
4. Support policies that incentive and encourage food loss and waste prevention and organics recycling

ARPI noted from meetings with authorized government agencies that the value of national food losses in a year reached almost IDR 500 trillion or IDR 6.7 million per family of four or 3% of GDP

The largest food losses are in vegetable and fruit products (reaching 50%) because the cold chain infrastructure in producing areas is still very limited. This can be compared with the food loss of imported fruit and vegetable which is only around 30% due to the availability of the cold chain. This is also because the loading and unloading area at the container port is not all in the right area.

Meanwhile, in marine and seafood products, food loss reaches 35%, due to the imbalance in production, processing and consumer areas so that the distribution chain is quite long. Providing processing industries in producer areas will help reduce depreciation. Indonesia has to make its National Strategy like U.S. to reduce food loss and waste 50% (from the current loss amount) by 2030