What is food waste, and how to fight it?

Online grocery stores (like Martie!) are helping to rescue perfectly safe and delicious items that may otherwise be tossed away. Let’s dive into what food waste is, and how we can help to combat it, just by shopping smarter!

How to reduce Food waste - Find how Martie is solving

It’s no surprise that the past few years have been hard. The global pandemic because of the outbreak of Coronavirus caused massive changes in our daily lives, and collectively we experienced immense tragedy and grief. With teams of employees working remotely, students learning from home, and people ‌ordering takeout from their favorite local restaurants to support them, the world saw a whopping spike in food bills, as families spent more time - and ate more meals together - at home. In the United States, the surge in food spending also meant a probable increase in food waste.   

Although America had a seriously massive amount of food waste even pre-pandemic, the problem now has reached a boiling point, nudging and directing towards a dangerous climate change ahead. 

Exactly How Much Food is Wasted in America?

Did You know? 
Food is the single largest contributor to American landfills, making up to 22 percent of municipal solid waste!


Here’s some ‘food’ for thought: According to an estimate by USDA’s Economic Research, globally, about 1.4 billion tons of food get wasted every year. The United States alone discards nearly 40 million tons of food. This is approximately 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply and equates to 219 pounds of waste per person! That’s like every person in America throwing over 650 average-sized oranges into the garbage - rather into the landfills, as most discarded food items end up there. In fact, food is the single largest component that takes up space in US landfills, making up to 22 percent of municipal solid waste (That’s a lot!). 

Why Do We Waste Food In The First Place?

According to studies led by USDA and EPA, the pre-Covid America saw 35 million people - including 10-12 million children - suffering from food insecurities. This number is likely to increase to 50 million people by 2022-2023 because of employment drops and economic fallouts. Despite that, you might wonder why we still waste food? 

Food goes waste in every stage of its production and consumption - from farmers to packers and shippers, from manufacturers to retailers and consumers! 

Getting into the deep cause of food waste is tricky as it crosses complex layers of socioeconomic disparities, and ingrained beliefs, layered with human behaviors and habits. Food goes waste in every stage of its production and consumption - from farmers to packers and shippers, from manufacturers to retailers and consumers! Not just that, food spoilage is another one of the biggest causes of food landing in the trash. About 80 percent of Americans discard perfectly good, consumable food simply because they misunderstood expiration labels. People get confused with labels like “use by”, “sell by”, “best before”, “best by”, or “expires on” and toss it in the trash to avoid any potential food-borne illness. This is where Martie steps in, to help rescue this perfectly good and consumable food from landing in the landfills. 

  Also Read: How to Reduce Food Waste this Holiday Season

Is Expiry Date the Ultimate Verdict? - Martie answers

A dented can of soup, Halloween candy in March, a bag of granola nearing the manufacturer’s “best by” date: in the past, most of these ‘not so good’ items would have ended up in the garbage contributing to the enormous amount of food that gets wasted each year. People often throw away these items mistaking the expiration label as the absolute deadline, beyond which one shouldn’t consume these food items. However, the expiry date or the “use by” date is mentioned only to let consumers know the freshness of the product and that there is no harm in consuming certain products beyond these dates. Martie is rescuing such grocery items and selling on their online site after a quality check. 

How is Martie Advocating the Importance of Surplus Food? 

Stores like us get perfectly good food, grocery and household items from other brands, and sell at a significantly cheaper price, making good food more accessible. By doing this, Martie is also helping other businesses and food brands reduce their food waste.

  Also Read: Martie’s focus on shelf-stable food items


What to contribute towards saving good food? Shop from Martie

Martie, based in California, launched in the USA in November 2021, works with top brands and producers to shop their ever-changing supply of surplus and overstock pantry items, selling them at a deeply discounted price (up to 70% off) instead. Now in 11 American states, including California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and New Mexico, Martie has diverted over 660,000 lbs of food from landfills.

How is Martie Helping Producers?

We know, food waste has huge environmental repercussions. However, producers cannot avoid tossing perfectly good food into the garbage because of product seasonality, changes in packaging or just overstocking - to make a successful sale. Martie partners with a range of such local producers, companies, and large brands like Annie’s, Bob’s Red Mill, and Partake, selling groceries ranging from organic products to snacks and sweets to baby products, personal care, and pet treats. After a thorough quality check, Martie packages the ordered items in an environment-friendly Martie box and delivers them to customers’ doorsteps at a discounted price. 

Are you a Smartie saving the environment? Be a part of this mission with Martie and purchase your first item (without a subscription!) here.

How will you avoid food waste over the holidays? Share your tips with us on Facebook and Instagram and we will share them in our stories. Let’s help each other and help the environment. 

Like what you read? Head to our Circular Blog to learn more about our work, mission, and stories that make us unique. What to contribute towards saving good food? Shop from our store here