The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler have announced the addition of Meijer, an American supercenter chain throughout the Midwest, and UNFI, a North America Food wholesaler, to the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions. Champions are U.S. businesses and organizations that pledge to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations by 50 percent by the year 2030. The commitment and action of these businesses will help the U.S. move closer to the national goal, protect and save valuable resources, and improve food system efficiencies while reducing waste.
“Businesses are leaders in innovation, and we applaud Meijer and UNFI for taking a leadership role in reducing food loss and waste,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We encourage more manufacturers, grocers, restaurants, and other businesses to become U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.”
“Unfortunately, most of America’s current daily waste is in fact wasted food,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We welcome Meijer and UNFI to our Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions program. Their efforts and leadership will help us reach our national goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030.”
“With millions of American families struggling every day to access sufficient, nutritious food, it is simply unacceptable that so much is wasted. We recognize the importance of collaboration as we work to address this challenge and are thrilled to join the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions to share best practices with others in our industry. As a critical link in the food supply, UNFI is committed to digging in to help find solutions,” said UNFI Director of Sustainability and Social Impact Alisha Real.
Meijer and UNFI join the impressive list of existing 2030 Champions, which includes: Ahold Delhaize, Amazon, Aramark, Blue Apron, Bon Appetit, Browns Superstores, Campbells, Compass Group, ConAgra, Farmstead, General Mills, Giant Eagle, Hello Fresh, Hilton, Kellogg’s, Kroger, Las Vegas Sands, Marley Spoon, MGM Resorts, Mom’s Organic Market, Pepsico, Sodexo, Sprouts, The Wendy’s Company, Unilever, Walmart, Walt Disney World, Wegmans, Weis, Whitsons, and Yum! Brands.
Ongoing Federal Food Waste Reduction Efforts
USDA has taken significant steps to highlight the need to reduce food waste nationally. In October 2018, USDA, EPA, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a formal agreement to align efforts across the federal government to educate consumers, engage stakeholders, and develop and evaluate solutions to food loss and waste. Earlier this year, the agencies updated the federal interagency strategy by listing contributing efforts in each of the priority action areas:
Priority Area 1: Enhance Interagency Coordination
Priority Area 2: Increase Consumer Education and Outreach Efforts
Priority Area 3: Improve Coordination and Guidance on Food Loss and Waste Measurement
Priority Area 4: Clarify and Communicate Information on Food Safety, Food Date Labels, and Food Donations
Priority Area 5: Collaborate with Private Industry to Reduce Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain
Priority Area 6: Encourage Food Waste Reduction by Federal Agencies in their Respective Facilities