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The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States

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  • Buzby, Jean
  • Farah-Wells, Hodan
  • Hyman, Jeffrey

Abstract

This report provides the latest estimates by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) on the amount and value of food loss in the United States. These estimates are for more than 200 individual foods using ERS’s Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data. In 2010, an estimated 31 percent or 133 billion pounds of the 430 billion pounds of food produced was not available for human consumption at the retail and consumer levels. This amount of loss totaled an estimated $161.6 billion, as purchased at retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimates of the calories associated with food loss are presented in this report. An estimated 141 trillion calories per year, or 1,249 calories per capita per day, in the food supply in 2010 went uneaten. The top three food groups in terms of share of total value of food loss are meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent); vegetables (19 percent); and dairy products (17 percent). The report also provides a brief discussion of the economic issues behind postharvest food loss.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Information Bulletin with number 164262.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersib:164262

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Web page: http://www.ers.usda.gov/
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Related research

Keywords: Food consumption; food loss; food recovery; food waste; foodservice; recycling; plate waste; processing; Agribusiness; Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Production Economics;

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  1. Reed, Jane & Frazao, Elizabeth & Itskowitz, Rachel, 2004. "How Much Do Americans Pay for Fruits and Vegetables?," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33691, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  2. Buzby, Jean C. & Hyman, Jeffrey, 2012. "Total and per capita value of food loss in the United States," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 561-570.
  3. Buzby, Jean C. & Wells, Hodan Farah & Axtman, Bruce & Mickey, Jana, 2009. "Supermarket Loss Estimates for Fresh Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Poultry, and Seafood and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data," Economic Information Bulletin 58313, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  4. Ribaudo, Marc & Delgado, Jorge & Hansen, LeRoy T. & Livingston, Michael J. & Mosheim, Roberto & Williamson, James M., 2011. "Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy," Economic Research Report 118022, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  5. Sullivan, Patrick & Hellerstein, Daniel & Hansen, LeRoy T. & Johansson, Robert C. & Koenig, Steven R. & Lubowski, Ruben N. & McBride, William D. & McGranahan, David A. & Roberts, Michael J. & Vogel, S, 2004. "The Conservation Reserve Program: Economic Implications for Rural America," Agricultural Economics Reports 33987, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  6. Coleman-Jensen, Alisha & Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2011. "Household Food Security in the United States in 2011," Economic Research Report 134715, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  7. Stewart, Hayden & Hyman, Jeffrey & Buzby, Jean C. & Frazao, Elizabeth & Carlson, Andrea, 2011. "How Much Do Fruits and Vegetables Cost?," Economic Information Bulletin 101280, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  8. Aillery, Marcel P. & Gollehon, Noel R. & Johansson, Robert C. & Kaplan, Jonathan D. & Key, Nigel D. & Ribaudo, Marc, 2005. "Managing Manure To Improve Air And Water Quality," Economic Research Report 33593, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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