With one in 10 residents in New Jersey facing food insecurity, more than 20 pounds of food per person per month are wasted, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A report last year from the Center for Biological Diversity gave most national supermarket chains a poor grade on their handling of food waste. It found most grocers focus on donating and recycling food, rather than preventing food waste to begin with — and that most supermarket chains don’t report how much of their food ends up in the landfill. The report also says that businesses that serve or sell food are responsible for 40% of food waste in the United States, with retailers accounting for more waste than restaurants or food-service providers.
Noting that almost a million New Jersey residents face hunger each year, Benson sponsored two of the bills that focus specifically on food waste. “One is a resolution urging food retailers to really do everything in their power to reduce food waste, and the second one is creating a food waste task force inside of Human Services, and the point of the task force is to look at practices, what’s out there now, what’s going on in other states,” he said.
Benson says upgrades to inventory systems at large food retailers could also solve the problem. “I’m talking about the largest biggest stores. They track everything, we need to start using that to not just maximize inventory and profits, and we need to also to use it to minimize food waste,” he said.