Each year, about 40 percent of food in this country gets wasted, which is an insanely high number. That statistic gets even crazier when you break down the nutritional content of that food.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University were able to do that with retail and consumer-level food waste across 213 different commodities based on 2012 nutritional data, and concluded that each person wastes over 1200 calories per day. The principal researcher, Dr. Roni Neff, told USA Today that that amount of nutrition would be enough to sustain 84% of the US population.
Outside of calories, the research also analyzed nutritional content and found that the amount of dietary fiber lost to food waste could fill the nutritional gap in fiber consumed by 206.6 million women. Several other nutrients, including potassium, calcium, and protein, were also analyzed to see how many were lost to food waste, and it was found that many other dietary gaps around these nutrients could be filled via the food currently being tossed away.
Dr. Neff highlighted the importance of this study in a statement:
"This study offers us new ways of appreciating the value of wasted food. While not all food that is wasted could or should be recovered, it reminds us that we are dumping a great deal of high quality, nutritious food that people could be enjoying."
Food waste stems from a variety of sources at both the consumer and retail level, but the best way to contain it, according to Dr. Neff, is by stopping food waste at its source, aka the production level.
Nonetheless, we can all take steps at home to limit food waste and bring that nutrition back into our food supply to feed many more people the proper nutrition they require.