(Courtesy photo)

A nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about food waste announced this month a campaign with San Diego grocers.

The San Diego Food System Alliance has teamed up with Ralphs and Food 4 Less to teach consumers about
the significant impacts of wasted food, and show consumers simple steps they can take in their own homes to reduce their food waste.

The “Save The Food, San Diego!” campaign is a countywide consumer education program that teaches San Diegans about different strategies for food waste reduction, including proper storage for vegetables, proper storage for fruits, zero waste cooking, and smart planning, campaign organizers said.

“Our goal is to educate shoppers by giving them everyday tips and tricks for reducing food waste at home,” said Elly Brown, executive director of the San Diego Food System Alliance. “There’s significant waste produced in the U.S. food system, and as consumers, most of us don’t realize we’re responsible for a vast portion of it.”

Brown said the average American family spends at least $1,500 per year on food that ends up going to waste, while each person tosses more than 20 pounds of food per month.

“These wasteful habits add up: uneaten food is the single largest component of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. When food waste rots in landfills, it emits methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas,” Brown said. “On a global scale, if food waste were its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.”

Brown offered four strategies for reducing food waste:

  • Shopping: An easily implementable shopping strategy is to buy imperfect produce – the last items on the shelf that may be a bit cosmetically challenged but are still perfectly tasty.
  • Storage: Consumers can learn to store certain foods to help them last longer. For the asparagus, store the bunch upright in a jar of water in your fridge, as you would display a bouquet of flowers. For berries, lay them flat in a tupperware in between layers of paper towels to prolong shelf life.
  • Meal planning: Plan your meals in advance to reduce unnecessary food purchases.
  • Zero waste cooking: Practice of cooking from root-to-leaf and nose-to-tail.

Brown said by following these tips, consumers can greatly reduce the amount of food that is wasted.

“There’s significant waste produced in the U.S. food system, and as consumers, most of us don’t realize we’re responsible for a vast portion of it,” Brown said.

Educational handouts will be available to consumers during the month of September at various Ralphs and Food 4 Less locations in San Diego County.

For more information on the San Diego Food System Alliance, or the Save The Food, San Diego! campaign, go to www.sdfsa.org.

For more information on the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste program, go to www.thekrogerco.com/sustainability/zero-hunger-zero-waste/.

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