Approximately 45% of all fruits and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, and 20% of meat and dairy products are wasted by suppliers, retailers, and consumers every year.
Quick tips to prevent & reduce food waste for food retailers & manufacturers:
- Conduct a waste audit. Determine what your waste is and how much it's costing your business.
- Partner with local farmers. Meet with a local farmer to plan your produce availability around what is in season.
- Buy smart. Adjustments in purchasing can save money and potential food waste.
- Love ugly fruits & veggies. Stores are not required to purchase only perfect produce. Reduce waste by not discarding those that look different.
- Keep an accurate inventory. Use the FIFO method: first in, first out. Upgrade your inventory system to help manage the process.
- Be creative. Create demonstrations and tastings with overstocked items.
- Donate. Instead of tossing extra produce, canned goods or prepared but unserved food, contact a local food bank or shelter. Feeding the Carolinas Foodbanks
- DHEC supports and encourages donation. Is it legal for retailers and manufacturers to donate? YES!
- Educate your consumers. Make sure your customers know what your store is doing to reduce food waste and encourage them to help.
- Compost. Most businesses will need to contract with a compost hauler/vendor or find a community garden/compost area. Vendor Info
- Potential cost savings.
- Feeding people, not landfills.
- Gives businesses an opportunity to enhance their reputation with guests, staff and investors.
- Employee engagement in the program increases job satisfaction.
- DHEC's S.C. Smart Business Recycling Program provides free, confidential technical assistance for recycling and food waste reduction.
- DHEC's Retail Food Establishment Regulations
- EPA's Food Recovery Challenge for Businesses
- Food Waste Reduction Alliance's Best Practices Toolkit