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

(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.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
Mar 22, 2012 8:16 AM CDT
Not this family. My depression-era mom had a hard and fast rule. You put it on your plate - you eat it. Plus, we ate leftovers until gone, and she never bought and threw away food. To this day, when I see people waste food, it drives me nuts.
Mar 22, 2012 12:46 AM CDT
I'm terrible at it too and unfortunately fruits and vegetables end up getting ditched the most. I overestimate how often I'm going to be home and how long produce will last. It would be even worse if I bought organic more often as they decompose quicker than non-organic produce.
Mar 22, 2012 12:26 AM CDT
I made my wife stop cooking for the two of us after our son's left the house a few years back. The hassle, the leftovers and expense to prepare the meal was just not worth it, so now my wife will maybe cook two to three times per week the rest of the time we eat take out. Anyone for Burger King, Pizza Hut or Chinese?