Did you know that U.S. households, on average, throw away $907 worth of food each year? That’s a lot of wasted money and resources. But here’s the good news: Utah is one of the least wasteful states when it comes to food. According to a survey conducted by Cherry Digital, a communications agency, Utahns only waste an average of $855 worth of food per year. That’s below the national average!

The Most and Least Wasteful States

The survey found that South Carolinians are the most wasteful when it comes to food, throwing away a staggering $1,304.68 worth of food annually. On the other hand, the least wasteful state is West Virginia, where residents only waste $404.90 worth of groceries each year. It’s clear that some states have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to reducing food waste.

The Cause of Food Waste

So, what’s causing this massive amount of food waste? According to the survey, a major factor is a misunderstanding of food labeling. Nearly half of the respondents (48.9%) admitted that they won’t eat food marked as past its sell-by date. However, this is a misconception. The sell-by date is just the last date by which the product should be sold in a store. It doesn’t necessarily mean the food is spoiled or unsafe to eat.

Another confusing label is the “use-by date.” Only one-quarter of the respondents knew that it indicates the last date for the product to be consumed at its peak quality. Many people mistakenly believe that it means the food is no longer edible or that it’s the last date for display and sale in a store. Understanding these labels can help reduce unnecessary food waste.

Tips to Waste Less Food

Now that you know how much food is wasted and the reasons behind it, here are some tips to help you waste less food:

  • Freeze your food: You can freeze food right up until the use-by date, and it will still be good to eat months later. Do some research to know which foods can be frozen.
  • Prevent herbs from wilting: Put your herbs in a glass of water to make them last longer.
  • Transform stale bread into breadcrumbs: Use a food processor to turn stale bread or crusts into breadcrumbs. They can be used for stuffing chicken or as a topping for baked fish.
  • Use the whole vegetable: When cooking with foods like potatoes, broccoli, or carrots, use the entire vegetable. The peels and stems often contain additional nutrients.
  • Donate to food kitchens: If you have items that are still edible but you won’t consume, consider donating them to local food kitchens. They will appreciate your contribution.

By implementing these simple tips, you can make a big difference in reducing food waste and saving money. Let’s all do our part to minimize waste and create a more sustainable future!