Leftover use and overreliance on date labels best if used by or use by dates are two of the primary contributors to food waste in American homes, according to new research by MITRE and Gallup. The research also shows that while saving money is the primary motivator for Americans seeking to reduce their food waste, only a third accurately estimate the magnitude of the potential savings.
These findings come from a recent study on consumer attitudes, behavior and awareness related to food waste that included a daily diary component for participants to track their household food waste over seven days using an app. The study offers important insights into how the country and consumers might address this issue, which costs the U.S. an estimated $310 billion annually.
MITRE, a not-for-profit organization that applies systems thinking across government, industry and academia, initiated the national survey through its independent research and development program. The goal was to better understand how and why people are wasting food at the household level, which contributes to nearly 50% of food waste in the country.
According to the June 21-Aug. 23 poll of over 9,200 U.S. adults, surveyed by web and mail, Americans recognize food waste carries both individual and societal repercussions, and 86% think American households should do more to reduce the amount of food they waste.