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40% of American food wasted

Harlan
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1/26/2010 6:29:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I just read something today which says that 40% of all of the food in the American supply chain goes to waste. I find that shocking, but I don't know if I should. I am moved to recall the vast mountains of uneaten food that people always leave in buffets all the time.

So how would this figure compare to that of other nations? Is it some specific problem of the US? If so, where exactly does this type of wasteful culture stem from?
Ore_Ele
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1/26/2010 6:40:35 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I doubt that companies would allow for such waste. They would almost certainly do better to make more money.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Harlan
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1/26/2010 6:47:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 6:40:35 PM, OreEle wrote:
I doubt that companies would allow for such waste. They would almost certainly do better to make more money.

I read it in Harper's.

Here's something about it: http://www.americanscientist.org...
Sky_ace25
Posts: 190
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1/26/2010 7:19:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Meh...I've heard of that statistic before...its believable to be flat out honest...course here is a funny story for you. So usually a restaurant would leave food out for homeless people to have, like leftovers right? Well...one guy got food poisoning or something so he sued the restaurant. After that no restaurant ever gives out food to homeless people.

Moral Affirmed: Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
Seriously, Pluto is no longer a planet?
Ore_Ele
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1/26/2010 7:25:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 7:19:09 PM, Sky_ace25 wrote:
Meh...I've heard of that statistic before...its believable to be flat out honest...course here is a funny story for you. So usually a restaurant would leave food out for homeless people to have, like leftovers right? Well...one guy got food poisoning or something so he sued the restaurant. After that no restaurant ever gives out food to homeless people.

Moral Affirmed: Don't bite the hand that feeds you.


I hope the homeless ate the guy that took away their food.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Rob1Billion
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1/26/2010 7:31:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Our wasting of food galvanizes us as unsustainable. I like competition (not as much as R_R) but competition is the real problem. Every restaurant is competing for the customer, so they have to overprepare to maximize profits. If it is more financially efficient to waste some food to get that potential dollar, who isn't going to do it?
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Ore_Ele
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1/26/2010 7:34:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 7:31:17 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Our wasting of food galvanizes us as unsustainable. I like competition (not as much as R_R) but competition is the real problem. Every restaurant is competing for the customer, so they have to overprepare to maximize profits. If it is more financially efficient to waste some food to get that potential dollar, who isn't going to do it?

Yes, but 40% waste is far too much to be realistic. Also, this is not just restaurants, it is all food. Meaning food that grocery stores stock but don't sell before it goes bad. And food that spoils durning transportation.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Harlan
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1/26/2010 7:56:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 7:34:31 PM, OreEle wrote:
At 1/26/2010 7:31:17 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Our wasting of food galvanizes us as unsustainable. I like competition (not as much as R_R) but competition is the real problem. Every restaurant is competing for the customer, so they have to overprepare to maximize profits. If it is more financially efficient to waste some food to get that potential dollar, who isn't going to do it?

Yes, but 40% waste is far too much to be realistic. Also, this is not just restaurants, it is all food. Meaning food that grocery stores stock but don't sell before it goes bad. And food that spoils durning transportation.

You really find it that hard to believe? It's also food that people buy from grocery stores but never eat. And it may include (not sure) rejects from when the food is first prepared/created/cooked/assembled.
Ore_Ele
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1/26/2010 8:05:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 7:56:10 PM, Harlan wrote:
At 1/26/2010 7:34:31 PM, OreEle wrote:
At 1/26/2010 7:31:17 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Our wasting of food galvanizes us as unsustainable. I like competition (not as much as R_R) but competition is the real problem. Every restaurant is competing for the customer, so they have to overprepare to maximize profits. If it is more financially efficient to waste some food to get that potential dollar, who isn't going to do it?

Yes, but 40% waste is far too much to be realistic. Also, this is not just restaurants, it is all food. Meaning food that grocery stores stock but don't sell before it goes bad. And food that spoils durning transportation.

You really find it that hard to believe? It's also food that people buy from grocery stores but never eat. And it may include (not sure) rejects from when the food is first prepared/created/cooked/assembled.

Yes, because most families will not continue to waste that much. If they see that they are throwing out almost half of their food, they will adjust and buy less food. Same goes for stores. If they see that 40% of their food is going bad before it is sold, they won't stock so much because it is a ton of wasted money. And if 40% of food is rejected at the farm, they would find a better way of doing it.

Though, as I look at this, since it is compounded, it does seem a little more likely (though still unlikely).

lets say 10% is rejected at the site for not being good enough. 10% spoils in transportation. 10% is not sold before spoiling. And 10% is thrown out due to spoiling in the households.

While some of those (all but the last step) seem a little high, they do seem more likely.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
wonderwoman
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1/26/2010 9:15:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Even if its true I don't see a problem with it. I mean sure you can be all self righteous and help out starving countries but that is being unrealistic.
Volkov
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1/26/2010 9:21:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:15:28 PM, wonderwoman wrote:
Even if its true I don't see a problem with it. I mean sure you can be all self righteous and help out starving countries but that is being unrealistic.

How?
studentathletechristian8
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1/26/2010 9:24:37 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:21:56 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 1/26/2010 9:15:28 PM, wonderwoman wrote:
Even if its true I don't see a problem with it. I mean sure you can be all self righteous and help out starving countries but that is being unrealistic.

How?

I believe she means that it is unrealistic to attempt to use our food waste as an expedient to assist third-world countries?

For some reason, my mind comes to think of the various Good Neighbor policies and such as. They are not really related to the matter, but it is a relatively similar concept.
Volkov
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1/26/2010 9:27:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:24:37 PM, studentathletechristian8 wrote:
I believe she means that it is unrealistic to attempt to use our food waste as an expedient to assist third-world countries?

I know, and I'd like to hear her reasons as to why that is "unrealistic."

For some reason, my mind comes to think of the various Good Neighbor policies and such as. They are not really related to the matter, but it is a relatively similar concept.

I'd think it would be better to set up an export system with all the extra food. You can carve out a portion for some groups like the World Food Programme, but the bulk would be an excellent boost to trade.
mattrodstrom
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1/26/2010 9:29:11 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:21:56 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 1/26/2010 9:15:28 PM, wonderwoman wrote:
Even if its true I don't see a problem with it. I mean sure you can be all self righteous and help out starving countries but that is being unrealistic.

How?

That food would never have been made.

To ship the leftovers from the Buffet doesn't make much sense, and throwing it out really doesn't affect starving Africans one bit.

Perhaps our gluttony, and wastefulness, drives up food prices for those Africans, but that's a two way street as it can also provide to them something to produce.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
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1/26/2010 9:30:58 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:27:50 PM, Volkov wrote:

I'd think it would be better to set up an export system with all the extra food. You can carve out a portion for some groups like the World Food Programme, but the bulk would be an excellent boost to trade.

They probably need cans and the like not the leftover (and soon to spoil) chicken.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Volkov
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1/26/2010 9:33:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:29:11 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
That food would never have been made.

To ship the leftovers from the Buffet doesn't make much sense, and throwing it out really doesn't affect starving Africans one bit.

Perhaps our gluttony, and wastefulness, drives up food prices for those Africans, but that's a two way street as it can also provide to them something to produce.

Sure that food would still be made, why wouldn't it? Its like the old buffalo analogy; the First Nations used every part of the animal they killed, including for use in trade, while the Europeans only took the meat and bones, leaving waste like mad behind. The animal was still killed, but what was left behind simply never went to any use, when it actually could have. Similarly, if we increase how efficiently we produce and consume what we will of the products, why should we let the rest go to waste? That can be used to generate a profit.
Volkov
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1/26/2010 9:37:32 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:30:58 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 1/26/2010 9:27:50 PM, Volkov wrote:

I'd think it would be better to set up an export system with all the extra food. You can carve out a portion for some groups like the World Food Programme, but the bulk would be an excellent boost to trade.

They probably need cans and the like not the leftover (and soon to spoil) chicken.

There is a lot more to this than simply leftover chicken. Wasted product can easily be reprocessed into something useful, and during production there can be a lot of changes to ensure its more efficient, either producing more product or cutting down on costs. I mean, that obviously can't work well with roasted chicken, but it could work with processed foods, where things like fat and trimmings go unused all the time.
Harlan
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1/26/2010 9:49:37 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
The idea wouldn't be to give poor countries food which we would have otherwise wasted, but to not waste the food in the first place, which allows more production of other, more useful things.

And, perhaps most importantly, while we may not be able to give chicken to developing countries, we can always send spam to them. Delicious, non-perishable spam.

Spam, spam spam spam- spam spam spam spam. Spam spam SPAM spam-spammity spam spam spam.
Ragnar_Rahl
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1/26/2010 9:59:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:33:56 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 1/26/2010 9:29:11 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
That food would never have been made.

To ship the leftovers from the Buffet doesn't make much sense, and throwing it out really doesn't affect starving Africans one bit.

Perhaps our gluttony, and wastefulness, drives up food prices for those Africans, but that's a two way street as it can also provide to them something to produce.

Sure that food would still be made, why wouldn't it?
There's unusued agricultural land, market forces affect whether people use it?

Its like the old buffalo analogy; the First Nations used every part of the animal they killed, including for use in trade, while the Europeans only took the meat and bones, leaving waste like mad behind. The animal was still killed, but what was left behind simply never went to any use, when it actually could have.
Because Europeans chose to invest in better uses of their time. As a result, more was produced. As a result of the "First Nations" using every part of their animal, their labor didn't go as far, and they had a lower standard of living.

Similarly, if we increase how efficiently we produce and consume what we will of the products, why should we let the rest go to waste? That can be used to generate a profit.
I take a cow.
It costs me 20 bucks to turn its intestines into a purse.

No one wants an intestine purse, it could at most fetch 10 dollars.

The result is I lose ten dollars, when I could have instead profited making a purse that people actually want to buy at a profitable price. The result of this being true is that the cow continues to be use for meat, but not for intestine purses.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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1/26/2010 10:01:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Wasted food is wasted for many reasons.

Some people are stupid.

Sometimes food rots, it can't always be calculated perfectly how much food will be eaten-- and the cost of doing so may be more than the cost of having extra food on hand.

Sometimes people wanted to try something new and didn't like it.

I'm sure there are more.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Volkov
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1/26/2010 10:17:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 9:59:02 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
There's unusued agricultural land, market forces affect whether people use it?

And there will always be constant consumption, especially of food, so I fail to see how the agricultural land goes unused if there are still markets out there to sell to.

Because Europeans chose to invest in better uses of their time. As a result, more was produced. As a result of the "First Nations" using every part of their animal, their labor didn't go as far, and they had a lower standard of living.

You're comparing the wrong things here, Ragnar. The First Nations peoples lived on what was essentially a subsistence economy, meaning that the more efficiently they used a product, the more they got out of it, and the farther it went. The Europeans, when originally settling North America either learned to live this way or perished. It wasn't until much later that there was enough production to not have to bother.

However, that is not even the point. While the expenditure of labour is greater, the more efficient you are at either creating a product or using a product, the more your costs go down, and the more use you can get out of it. This seems like a simple and agreeable idea - efficiency breeds success.

I take a cow.
It costs me 20 bucks to turn its intestines into a purse.

No one wants an intestine purse, it could at most fetch 10 dollars.

The result is I lose ten dollars, when I could have instead profited making a purse that people actually want to buy at a profitable price. The result of this being true is that the cow continues to be use for meat, but not for intestine purses.

This was such a stupid example that I have no idea what to say to it. If a part of this cow isn't marketable, then don't use it. However, if there is a part of a cow that is marketable, then why waste it?
Ragnar_Rahl
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1/26/2010 10:26:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 10:17:36 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 1/26/2010 9:59:02 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
There's unusued agricultural land, market forces affect whether people use it?

And there will always be constant consumption, especially of food
No, there will be variable consumption.

so I fail to see how the agricultural land goes unused if there are still markets out there to sell to.
It does go unused. As in right now. There are markets-- but they don't have enough money to make it worthwhile lol.


Because Europeans chose to invest in better uses of their time. As a result, more was produced. As a result of the "First Nations" using every part of their animal, their labor didn't go as far, and they had a lower standard of living.

You're comparing the wrong things here, Ragnar. The First Nations peoples lived on what was essentially a subsistence economy, meaning that the more efficiently they used a product, the more they got out of it, and the farther it went. The Europeans, when originally settling North America either learned to live this way or perished. It wasn't until much later that there was enough production to not have to bother.
The entire point is that a lot of this stuff consumes more product than it produces. The subsistence economy doesn't change that-- it just makes it STUPIDER to use a production process that consumes more than it produces.


However, that is not even the point. While the expenditure of labour is greater, the more efficient you are at either creating a product or using a product, the more your costs go down
Labour is a cost n00b.


I take a cow.
It costs me 20 bucks to turn its intestines into a purse.

No one wants an intestine purse, it could at most fetch 10 dollars.

The result is I lose ten dollars, when I could have instead profited making a purse that people actually want to buy at a profitable price. The result of this being true is that the cow continues to be use for meat, but not for intestine purses.

This was such a stupid example that I have no idea what to say to it. If a part of this cow isn't marketable, then don't use it. However, if there is a part of a cow that is marketable, then why waste it?
How much of this stuff is marketable at profit?

I dunno about you, but I don't throw out food until it's reached a point where it's no longer marketable. Heck,until it's long since no longer marketable, I'm kind of a glutton :)
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ore_Ele
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1/26/2010 10:39:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 10:26:51 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
I dunno about you, but I don't throw out food until it's reached a point where it's no longer marketable. Heck,until it's long since no longer marketable, I'm kind of a glutton :)

I don't know about you, but when I look at my food in the fridge, I don't think "is still marketable?" No, I think "will it still taste good (good enough that I don't need to by more to replace it right now) and is it still safe to eat."
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Volkov
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1/26/2010 10:49:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 10:26:51 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
No, there will be variable consumption.

That is true with anything, and proves nothing. Consumption may swing, but there will usually always be consumption of some sort. If there comes a time when there is no market for product, then they're up sh*t's creek - but that time isn't coming soon.

It does go unused. As in right now. There are markets-- but they don't have enough money to make it worthwhile lol.

And this proves what, exactly? That production is based on markets? Well, damn Ragnar, I didn't know you knew the economics!

Either you've completely missed the point or are purposefully going off on an odd tangent that has little to do with the subject. I don't know which, but I don't care for either.

The entire point is that a lot of this stuff consumes more product than it produces. The subsistence economy doesn't change that-- it just makes it STUPIDER to use a production process that consumes more than it produces.

Labour is a cost n00b.

No sh*t. Are you telling me that using more labour to be more efficient will always result in either negative or static net profit? Thats a big stinkin' pile of BS right there.

How much of this stuff is marketable at profit?

I dunno about you, but I don't throw out food until it's reached a point where it's no longer marketable. Heck,until it's long since no longer marketable, I'm kind of a glutton :)

Thats you, Ragnar. You're not everyone. I mean, clearly if 40% of food in the US is wasted, you're far from everyone. The point is that if there is a profit to be made from being more efficient with food, in either production or with the waste, what reason is there to not do it?
Ore_Ele
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1/26/2010 10:54:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I wonder how much "wild" life that wasted food feeds? How many animals get their meals from our garbage? How many will die of hunger if clean up our act?
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Volkov
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1/26/2010 10:57:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 10:54:10 PM, OreEle wrote:
I wonder how much "wild" life that wasted food feeds? How many animals get their meals from our garbage? How many will die of hunger if clean up our act?

Thats a good question, though I suspect most animals that feed off our waste are things usually considered pests, like raccoons and stray cats. If we used our waste like we're suggesting, then yeah, the possibility remains that a good portion of wildlife could suffer from the loss of a food course. However, I don't think there are any species out there that rely solely on our waste to survive.
Volkov
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1/26/2010 10:57:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 10:57:06 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 1/26/2010 10:54:10 PM, OreEle wrote:
I wonder how much "wild" life that wasted food feeds? How many animals get their meals from our garbage? How many will die of hunger if clean up our act?

Thats a good question, though I suspect most animals that feed off our waste are things usually considered pests, like raccoons and stray cats. If we used our waste like we're suggesting, then yeah, the possibility remains that a good portion of wildlife could suffer from the loss of a food source*. However, I don't think there are any species out there that rely solely on our waste to survive.

*Fix'd. I need sleep.
Ragnar_Rahl
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1/26/2010 11:16:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 10:39:10 PM, OreEle wrote:
At 1/26/2010 10:26:51 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
I dunno about you, but I don't throw out food until it's reached a point where it's no longer marketable. Heck,until it's long since no longer marketable, I'm kind of a glutton :)

I don't know about you, but when I look at my food in the fridge, I don't think "is still marketable?" No, I think "will it still taste good (good enough that I don't need to by more to replace it right now) and is it still safe to eat."
Which translates to marketable. :)

That is true with anything, and proves nothing. Consumption may swing, but there will usually always be consumption of some sort.
And this provides sufficient economies of scale to give Africa a chance at food how? :P

No sh*t. Are you telling me that using more labour to be more efficient will always result in either negative or static net profit?
I'm saying that using more now probably will, or people would likely do it less. :)

Thats you, Ragnar. You're not everyone. I mean, clearly if 40% of food in the US is wasted, you're far from everyone. The point is that if there is a profit to be made from being more efficient with food, in either production or with the waste, what reason is there to not do it?
If that then none, but how do you know much of it would really be profit? Hard to say without looking into specific instances of wasted food.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ore_Ele
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1/26/2010 11:24:19 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/26/2010 11:16:28 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 1/26/2010 10:39:10 PM, OreEle wrote:
At 1/26/2010 10:26:51 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
I dunno about you, but I don't throw out food until it's reached a point where it's no longer marketable. Heck,until it's long since no longer marketable, I'm kind of a glutton :)

I don't know about you, but when I look at my food in the fridge, I don't think "is still marketable?" No, I think "will it still taste good (good enough that I don't need to by more to replace it right now) and is it still safe to eat."
Which translates to marketable. :)
I'm gonna disagree on your definition of "marketable" but I see no point in arguing over the definition, since we basically agree on concept, just not verbage.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"