Losses in Households
American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy.69 The cost estimate for the average family of four is $1,365 to $2,275 annually.70
Consumer food waste also has serious implications for wasted energy.
Research is lacking in the United States, but anecdotal evidence suggests that drivers for household losses include:
Lack of awareness and undervaluing of foods. Cheap, available food has created behaviors that do not place high value on utilizing what is purchased. As a result, the issue of wasted food is simply not on the radar of many Americans, even those who consider themselves environment- or cost conscious.
Confusion over label dates. Label dates on food are generally not regulated and do not indicate food safety. Multiple dates, inconsistent usage, and lack of education
around date labels cause consumers to discard food prematurely. In the U.K., an estimated 20 percent of avoidable food waste in households is discarded because
of date labeling confusion.
Spoilage. Food spoils in homes due to improper or sub-optimal storage, poor visibility in refrigerators, partially used ingredients, and misjudged food needs.
Source: NRDC Issue paper (August 2012 IP: 12-06-B) 'Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill' by Dana Gunders (Natural Resources Defense Council)