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Reducing Food Waste at Home

Ashley Kirchhoff, Kelly Braaten | August 9, 2017


Quick tips for consumers

Each week, Jane, a mother of two, goes to the grocery store to buy food for her family. She comes home to put it away and throws out food from the week before that was never eaten – everything from fruits and vegetables, to lunch meat and milk.

“The frustrating thing is I do this over and over, and I don’t have a lot of money to be spending on food in the first place,” she said. “It becomes a habit, a cycle I guess.”

Nick, who lives alone, can definitely relate. “I guess I don’t do a very good job planning,” he laughed. “Some weeks I buy a lot of groceries but end up eating out for most of my meals, so I have to throw out a lot of what I bought at the grocery store.”

Does this sound familiar? This is the constant cycle many of us find ourselves in each and every week. The reality is that while food companies, grocery stores and restaurants are all trying to reduce food waste, there are things we can all do at home to do our part as well.

Combating Food Waste

But first, why is it so important in the first place? Forty percent of the food in the U.S. is never eaten. This equates to $218 billion when you consider the cost of the food, wasted water, energy, fertilizers, etc. Most food waste ends up in landfills where it decomposes and releases methane. And while 40 percent of the food in the U.S. is never consumed, one in eight Americans are food insecure.1

So now that you are committed to doing your part in stopping the food waste cycle, here are some tips to help you get started or to further your existing efforts. By making even just a few small changes, you can help reduce food waste – and you will feel good about making a difference in the process!

Click here for a printable handout of these tips that you can keep in your kitchen.

2017 Consumer Food Waste Infographic

Tips & Tricks

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Reduce Portion Sizes

Simply start with less food on your plate, or use smaller plates for most meals. Still hungry? You can always go back for more, which is better than the alternative: getting full and throwing away that pile of food still on your plate.


Donate safe, nutritious food to local pantries and food banks. Additionally, look for farms in your area that accept food scraps for adding to their compost heaps.


For one week, track what you throw out so you know specifically what you are wasting and why. Write down the cost as additional motivation to make a change.

Out With The Old

Buy only what you eat, and eat all you buy. After you buy groceries, move the older products to the front so you consume them first.

Additional Benefits

Start with coffee grounds, fruit, vegetables, tea bags and more. These materials can be added to soil for healthier plants.

Buy Wisely

If you need small amounts of specific fruits or veggies, buy them from grocery store salad bars so the extras won’t make their way to the trash. Frozen fruits and veggies work great in most recipes without the pressure of using them within just a couple days.


Is it completely unrealistic for you to finish all the leftovers from last night? Share it with family and friends, who are apt to thank you for the saved money and time.

Green Companies
Refrigerator Efficiency

Is your refrigerator functioning at maximum efficiency? Look for aspects such as tight seals and proper temperature, which will ensure food stays fresh as long as possible.

global food safety

Freezing can be a great asset to extend the lifespan of food, even if you plan to eat it in just a few days. Freeze or preserve excess fruits and veggies so you can savor their deliciousness for weeks and months to come.

information technology services
Food Waste Apps

Do your research and discover apps that are designed to help reduce food waste. There are a lot of great ones out there!

Proper Storage

Proper storage can maintain food quality and freshness. Transparent containers can help you remember what is in your refrigerator, instead of forgetting and trashing it later.

Dining Out

Split a dish with a friend, or take home what you don’t eat and lunch tomorrow is covered! Eliminate unnecessary packaging (such as plastic bags) and bring your own container for the leftovers.

To learn how Hormel Foods reduces food waste, visit our corporate responsibility report.
CR Report