In the United States, more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste and when landfilled it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted our first ever USDA Food Loss and Waste Innovation Fair. This free, virtual fair highlighted businesses that are creating or implementing state-of-the-art technical solutions to reduce food loss and waste throughout the food system – from farm to table – and highlighted USDA activities in this space.
Three categories of booth holders showcased their food loss and waste activities, products, and innovations.
First, the fair highlighted U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions. In addition to reducing food waste in their operations, several of these food industry leaders — e.g., Sprouts Farmers Market, Sodexo, and MGM Resorts International — committed to fighting hunger by donating safe, excess food to charitable organizations.
Secondly, the fair also gave a platform for USDA agencies to share their work on food loss and waste (e.g., research, funding, measurement, outreach). As one example, the joint booth by USDA Foreign Agriculture Service and Feed the Future has information on the U.S. Government’s initiative to simultaneously combat global hunger and food loss and waste.
Third, the fair featured USDA-funded organizations that are developing or marketing food loss and waste reducing technologies. Among the innovations was Full Cycle Bioplastics’ patented technology, which makes a compostable bioplastic from organic waste that can help address three global problems at once — reducing food waste, climate change, and plastic pollution.
Nearly 850 people attended the live event. Most of the USDA Food Loss and Waste Innovation Fair and materials will be available for a full year so feel free to register today, visit the booths, and download materials on demand. If you are interested in future USDA news and events on the topic, sign up for the USDA food loss and waste newsletter.