US food giants pledge to halve food waste by 2030

Major food firms including PepsiCo, General Mills, Unilever and Kellogg are among the 15 US-based retail giants that have pledged to halve the amount on food waste produced within their operations by 2030.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Agriculture announced the first 15 members of the US’s first-ever national food waste reduction goal pledge – the US Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.

Under the new initiative, each 2030 Champion has agreed to mark a baseline measurement for food loss, within their operations, in today’s current market. All 15 members will report on food waste reduction progress, with an aim to halve the amount of food waste produced by 2030.

The 15 members are: Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appétit Management Company, Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Unilever, Walmart, Wegman’s Food Markets, Weis Markets and Yum! Brands – which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

“In support of the Sustainable Development Goals, Kellogg is committed to helping reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030,” Kellogg’s chief sustainability officer Diane Holdorf said. “Already, Kellogg has reduced waste sent to landfill by more than 60 percent since 2005, including food waste. We remain committed to ensuring edible food waste is donated to feed people in need, when appropriate.

“We also will continue our partnerships to develop sustainable agriculture programs with smallholder farmers that help prevent post-harvest loss in major ingredients relevant to Kellogg.”

The EPA will direct each of the 15 Champions to use Food Loss and Waste Protocol, a collaborative measure that introduced the FLW Standard for quantifying and reporting on food waste within the supply chain.

Originally established in 2013, the standard looks to encourage consistency and transparency in quantifying and reporting food waste issues to reap economic benefits, enhance food security, improve natural resource efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. It was launched globally in June 2016.

“As a global food company, it’s imperative to take thoughtful action to combat food waste,” General Mills’ chief sustainability office Jerry Lynch said. “We will continue to advance our role in helping to reduce food insecurity, reduce the needless churn of the planet’s resources used to produce food that is then thrown away, and eliminating the cost from food that is ultimately wasted.

“We are committed to doing our part–socially, environmentally and financially–and we support the USDA and EPA’s continued leadership efforts to escalate the importance of food waste reduction.”

Labels and reforms

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that around 90bn pounds of food waste derives from consumers, costing each US citizen $370 annually. However, there is a lack of clarity and federal laws in the country in regards to food labels.

Prominent food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart’s environmental campaign group Feedback has been working with businesses in the US to tackle food waste.

Last week, Stuart joined fellow food waste activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in calling on the UK Government to implement several food waste policies such as labelling reform, national reduction targets and the strengthened role of an independent adjudicator between supermarkets and suppliers.

Matt Mace

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