Our New Year’s Resolution? Help Americans Lose 638 Million Pounds

The best New Year’s resolutions must be achievable and practical if you intend to keep them. So, we decided that losing 638 million pounds sounded reasonable.

No, really! Hear us out.

Food waste is a major problem in America. And because far too many of us aren’t sure when to throw away old products (what do those pesky date labels mean anyway?), we’ve landed on the prevailing wisdom of “if in doubt, throw it out.” A report by Harvard Law School’s Food Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that more than 90 percent of Americans may toss food too early because they misinterpret date labels.

What’s worse, the USDA estimates 133 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States each year. That’s nearly a third of the available food supply of 430 billion pounds, and more than $161 billion worth of food wasted.

We can do better. And in 2019, we will. If every American household held on to 10 items — just 10! — we could lose 638 million pounds of waste.

Highlight: If every American household held on to 10 items — just 10! — we could lose 638 million pounds of waste. #10ItemsLess

Don’t worry, we’re going to help you get there. Last year, food and beverage manufacturers and grocery retailers got together to help solve this problem. They came up with two simple, streamlined labels: USE By and BEST If Used By.

Gone are the days of wondering what “sell by” means to you or if “enjoy by” has anything to do with safety. Much simpler, isn’t it?

Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) Americans say that these definitions are clear to them. Another 85 percent say these simpler terms would be helpful to them, making them feel safer, waste less, save money, and feel more confident about the products they use.

Top Benefits of Simpler Product Labels

  • Feeling safer about what is consumed
  • Throwing less away
  • Saving money by throwing less away
  • Being more confident in products used

Join us in our fight against food waste. There is a long way to go, but even small changes can make a big difference—638 million pounds by our count.

Add your voice to the #10ItemsLess pledge.

To learn more about this issue, please check out our new report, Best If Clearly Labeled.