Families Waste Up to $2K Per Year on Uneaten Food

People tend to overestimate what they need, researchers say

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 21, 2012 2:09 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you want to save money, a good way to start is by not buying food you won't eat. It sounds like a no-brainer, but in the US, the average family of four spends between $500 to $2,000 per year on food that gets thrown away, the Wall Street Journal reports. Vegetables are the worst culprit, making up 25% of avoidable waste. In all, 33 million tons of food ended up in US landfills and incinerators in 2010—the biggest solid waste component, once paper and paperboard are removed and recycled.

If shoppers don't bring along a thoughtful list to the grocery store, many will overestimate how much they actually need to buy, researchers have found. People also tend to "stockpile" certain items or buy in bulk to save money—but then never finish eating what they bought. But concerns are starting to be raised, thanks to the growing cost of food and the country's continued economic troubles, leading some manufacturers to introduce ways of keeping food fresh (think plastic bags with "fresh vents" for air circulation). The Journal has more, including how you should really read those scary sell-by dates.

Americans spend a lot of money on food they never eat.
Americans spend a lot of money on food they never eat.   (Flickr)
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