How We Fight Food Waste in the US

When we stop food waste, we take a big step toward ending hunger.

America has more than enough food to feed everyone. But each year, billions of pounds of perfectly good food go to waste. Meanwhile, 38 million face hunger in the United States.

As the country's largest food rescue organization, Feeding America partners with food manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers to rescue food and deliver it to food banks serving our neighbors.

What is food waste?

Food waste is safe, high-quality food that is thrown away rather than eaten. Food waste occurs for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Uneaten food that is thrown out at homes, stores, and restaurants
  • Crops left in fields because of low crop prices or too many of the same crops being available
  • Problems during the manufacturing and transportation of food
  • Food not meeting retailers' standards for color and appearance

How much food waste is there in the United States?

Each year, 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States. That equates to more than $161 billion worth of food thrown away each year. Shockingly, nearly 40% of all food in America is wasted.

Food goes to waste at every stage of food production and distribution - from farmers to packers and shippers, from manufacturers to retailers to our homes.


What is Feeding America doing about food waste?

In 2020, the Feeding America network and our partners rescued 4 billion pounds of groceries. This includes more than 1.8 billion pounds of rescued fresh produce.

That food went directly to feed people facing hunger. This makes Feeding America the largest food rescue organization in the country.

Food rescue, or food recovery, is the practice of collecting high-quality food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to people facing hunger. We work with manufacturers, retailers, and farmers to reduce food waste and get rescued food to people in need. We identify food at risk of going to waste, offer rescued food to food banks, safely ship food over long distances and keep food fresh longer once it reaches a food bank.

We're working on new ways to get perfectly good food to our neighbors who need it most, including:

MealConnect icon

One of Feeding America's newest innovations, MealConnect, makes safe and quick food donations possible by matching food businesses directly to the Feeding America network. Local grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, and more can use MealConnect to alert nearby food banks, food pantries, or meal programs when they have food ready for immediate pickup, making more good food available and revolutionizing local food rescue. To read more about how MealConnect works, visit

Photo of fresh peaches on a tree

Waste It or Taste It?

Can you spot the food that may be destined for the dumpster?

Take the quiz.