The cost of food waste

OneGenAway's First Responder Mark rescues food from a grocery store.
OneGenAway’s First Responder Mark rescues food from a grocery store.

Wasting food is expensive. Think about it; you’re not only losing opportunity cost.

First of all, it takes a lot of money to get produce onto store shelves. You start with the land costs (acquisition, maintenance, taxes, etc.); farming costs (equipment acquisition/maintenance, seeds, irrigation, fertilizer, labor); administrative labor (product placement, staff management, etc.); transportation (vehicle acquisition/maintenance, fuel, driver labor, etc.); grocery store overhead/labor; and more costs. All of that just to get some tomatoes on a shelf.

Then say a cast of those tomatoes don’t sell fast enough, and a new load is coming in that week. A grocery store has a couple options:

• Donate it while it is still viable and nutritions, which takes administrative labor to coordinate with a food rescuer and costs associated with storing that food.
• Throw the food away, which can be costly (garbage service costs often increase as the total weight of waste increases).
• Compost it, which can again be costly as an employee has to coordinate with a composting service and pay the associated transportation and service costs.

We’re not claiming that food rescue isn’t expensive. For us, it takes staffing, warehouse management, truck maintenance, gasoline, refrigeration, and more just to get food from a grocery store to someone’s dinner table. But when something is thrown away or composted, that food still has to be transported and disposed of, which is not free either.

That’s why we do what we do! Our nation is spending money on excess food no matter what we do with it. We would rather invest in feeding our neighbors.