Truckers, General Mills, Feeding America Look to Rescue Good Food From a Bad End

By Mark Solomon
Jan 9, 2019 10:00 AM ET

The U.S. wastes edible food at an alarming rate. Each year, about 72 billion pounds of otherwise consumable foodstuffs never make it onto store shelves, according to estimates from Feeding America, a large hunger-relief group. Annually, that amounts to roughly 40 percent of all food in the US, the group said. Those figures don’t include the volumes of food that spoil either at rest or in transit. Nor does it cover the mountains of scraps thrown away every day by hotels, restaurants, consumers and the like.

There are several reasons for this. Overproduction sometimes leads to surpluses that distribution center space aren’t able to accommodate. Miscommunication among supply chain partners can push orders of incorrect quantities on facilities that aren’t expecting them. Slightly damaged shipments can result in products that are deemed commercially unsaleable but that are still consumable, nutritious, and pose no health risk. A food supply chain trained only to move goods in the forward direction may find it simpler to just dump rejected products rather than to reposition them through complex and mostly unfamiliar reverse logistics processes.

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