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Take the Food Waste Quiz

Question 1/7
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Food is a hot commodity! If we produce food that doesn’t get eaten, what else is wasted?
Correct!

Growing food and getting it to your table takes water, energy, and land, including the forests and grasslands that are home to millions of species. When food is wasted, all of those other resources are also thrown out. In addition, about 10% of all human-caused greenhouse gases contributing to climate change are linked to food waste.

TIP: Cutting down on your food waste will decrease your carbon footprint. Buy only what you will eat, and learn to love leftovers!

Plus everything else too!

Wildlife habitat

Growing food and getting it to your table takes lots of land, including the forests and grasslands that are home to millions of species.

Water

Growing the amount of food that’s wasted takes about as much as all of the water that’s used by California, Texas and Ohio combined.

Energy

Energy goes into the growing, transporting, processing, and handling of everything we eat. When food is wasted, all of these other resources go down the drain.

TIP: Cutting down on your food waste will decrease your carbon footprint. Buy only what you will eat, and learn to love leftovers!

What percent of food never gets eaten worldwide?
Correct!

About a third of the planet’s food goes to waste. It happens in every link of our food supply chain—from the fruit that never makes it off the farm to the vegetables you forgot were in your fridge.

TIP: There are lots of things we can do to shop, cook, and eat smarter! Learn more about how you can freeze the footprint of your food.

It's actually 30%.

About a third of the food produced on the planet goes to waste. Waste happens in every link of our food supply chain—from the fruit that never makes it off the farm to the vegetables you forgot were in your fridge.

TIP: There are lots of things we can do to shop, cook, and eat smarter! Learn more about how you can freeze the footprint of your food.

What food gets tossed the most?
Right!

45%—almost half of all fruits, veggies, and tubers (like potatoes) are wasted each year! Luckily, there’s lots you can do to make them last longer.

For potatoes, store them in a dark place. If they’ve been around awhile, you can cook them up and freeze in portions. You can roast the skins in some salt, pepper, and oil to make your own crunchy snack. If they start to sprout, you can even cut them up and plant them in your yard!

Bananas and apples are some of the most wasted fruits. You can freeze both to use later in baked goods or smoothies. Did you know you can eat the banana peel? You can blend, fry, bake, or boil them. The riper the banana, the sweeter the peel becomes.

It's actually fruits, veggies and tubers.

A whopping 45% of all of the fruits and veggies produced are wasted per year. Over 5 million tons of roots and tubers are tossed in North America alone.

About 20% of meat produced globally is wasted, but that loss carries a hefty price. Did you know it takes about 25 times as much energy to produce a pound of hamburger as a pound of corn? About 20% of all dairy products are lost or wasted each year, while 30% of cereal products are thrown away as well.

Wasting less food begins at the grocery store. Try this motto on for size: “Buy what you need, and eat what you buy.”

What food, when wasted, represents the biggest waste of energy?
Right!

It takes about 25 times more energy to produce a calorie of beef than to produce one calorie of corn for people to eat. Animal proteins tend to require more energy—and land and water—to produce than plant proteins.

TIP: Shop smart and eat smart! What we eat affects the planet, so it’s important to be aware and consider the impacts of what we eat. You don’t have to stop enjoying the foods you love, but most Americans can reduce their footprint by sticking to the USDA’s nutritional recommendations. You can also make a huge difference by wasting less of what you eat, especially meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy. Learn more about how WWF works with dairy, beef and other protein producers to reduce their environmental impacts.

It's not milk, poultry or corn, but beef!

While dairy products, chicken and eggs usually take more resources to produce per calorie than staples like wheat or rice, it tends to take more energy—and land and water—to produce beef.

Corn, especially compared to animal products, is a relatively energy efficient crop.

TIP: Shop smart and eat smart! What we eat affects the planet, so it’s important to be aware and consider the impacts of what we eat. You don’t have to stop enjoying the foods you love, but most Americans can reduce their footprint by sticking to the USDA’s nutritional recommendations. You can also make a huge difference by wasting less of what you eat, especially meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy. Learn more about how WWF works with dairy, beef and other protein producers to reduce their environmental impacts.

How much money does the average American spend on food per year that never makes it into meals?
You're right!

All told, American consumers waste about $144 billion worth of food each year.

TIP: Planning is the key to a successful, sustainable shopping trip. Think through meals in advance and bring a list to cut down on impulse purchases. Don’t shop hungry. Also, make the freezer your friend: freeze bread, meat, and other perishables that you don’t plan to eat immediately.

That's a lot of wasted money and food.

The average American spends about $456 on wasted food per year. All told, American consumers waste about $144 billion worth of food each year.

TIP: Planning is the key to a successful, sustainable shopping trip. Think through meals in advance and bring a list to cut down on impulse purchases. Don’t shop hungry. Also, make the freezer your friend: freeze bread, meat, and other perishables that you don’t plan to eat immediately.

How much seafood goes to waste in the US?
Correct!

Between 40% and 47% of seafood goes to waste in the US. In fact, of all the animal-derived products, seafood goes to waste most often. While some of this loss occurs on the boat, most occurs in supermarkets and home kitchens.

TIP: Buy frozen seafood. Most seafood is frozen on the boat and during shipping, only to be thawed for retail display. Purchasing seafood while it’s still frozen and cooking it from frozen helps maintain its quality longer.

You were close.

Between 40% and 47% of seafood goes to waste in the US. In fact, of all the animal-derived products, seafood goes to waste most often While some of this loss occurs on the boat, most occurs in supermarkets and home kitchens.

TIP: Buy frozen seafood. Most seafood is frozen on the boat and during shipping, only to be thawed for retail display. Purchasing seafood while it’s still frozen and cooking it from frozen helps maintain its quality longer.

Where does most food go to waste in the US?
Yes, sadly.

More food is wasted at home and in restaurants than anywhere else along the supply chain. On the bright side, that means we have it within our power to take meaningful steps to protect our planet. By shopping smarter, planning better, and cooking more, we can all do our part—directly—to save food.

It's actually in restaurants and at home.

More food is wasted at home and in restaurants than anywhere else along the supply chain. American farmers are relatively efficient when it comes to making the most of the food they grow. US infrastructure—from smooth roads to cold trucks&mash;also allows distributors to minimize waste between farms and consumers. Food waste in retail settings is a challenge, but it’s still not the top cause of food waste. Marketing strategies follow consumer preferences for full shelves and cosmetically perfect produce, which is often a big reason for waste.

On the bright side, that means we have it within our power to take meaningful steps to protect our planet. By shopping smarter, planning better, and cooking more, we can all do our part—directly—to save food.

What are good ways to reduce food waste?
Yes!

By planning ahead, you can reduce impulse buys and prepare only what you need. You’ll save money, too.

Yes!

Many foods are just as good when stored in the freezer, such as bread, cooked veggies, and seafood. You can even cook most of these items, including seafood, straight out of the freezer.

Yes!

Cosmetic defects don’t affect a fruit or vegetable’s taste or quality, so they’re ideal for use in other dishes, from smoothies to soups. Bones from leftover roasts are also good additions for a flavorful broth.

Yes!

There are virtually limitless ways to save food. If you have any tips or recipes to share, let us know at foodwaste@wwfus.org.

Thanks for joining the fight against food waste and its impacts on our planet! WWF is working together with businesses like hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores; teachers and students; and farmers across the nation to figure out how to cut back on waste. Learn more about our work on food waste.

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