Thanksgiving and other holidays are the perfect time to consider just how egregious food waste is in America. A new study by two Texas A&M researchers focused on how people react to wasted food at organizations like supermarkets, retail stores, cafeterias and restaurants. The study found that people who cared more about the resources needed to produce food cared more about curbing wasted food.
The USDA estimates that food loss and waste at such organizations range from 11 to 12 percent of fresh food and meat. The waste comes from inventory loss, food scraps, food preparation waste, unpurchased prepared food and food consumers buy but do not finish. This is a problem because behind all that wasted food are the resources that go into producing it, like water and energy. So when someone wastes food they are also wasting water and energy resources that could have been better used elsewhere.
The researchers used the water-energy-food nexus framework, or the interconnection of these resources, to design a “nexus awareness index.” The study showed a strong correlation between those with greater “nexus awareness” and a greater concern for reducing food waste.