Hand In Hand on Reducing Food Waste

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Hand In Hand on Reducing Food Waste

By David Fikes - 03/01/2015

Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because home cooks are not sure of the quality or safety of items. Household food waste represents about 44 percent of all food waste generated in the U.S., and it's estimated that 20 pounds of food is wasted per person per month. Although food retailers have been working to reduce food waste, in order to tackle this problem on a larger scale, we cannot do it alone.

Back in 1994, FMI joined with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Cornell University's Department of Food Science to create the FoodKeeper–a publication and online database that helps consumers understand the shelf life of products when stored in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer. This year, the partners turned the publication into a FoodKeeper app for smartphones and tablets.

The FoodKeeper app informs users how to store food and beverages to maximize them and helps reduce unnecessary food waste. Features include:

  • Specific product pages offer users storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry unique to that particular product.
  • Cooking tips for meat, poultry, seafood and egg products to ensure users prepare foods in ways that eliminate foodborne bacteria.
  • Calendar integration allows users to enter the purchase date for products and notifies you when products near the end of their recommended storage date.
  • Users can submit a question to the ‘Ask Karen' feature, which connects you to USDA's 24/7 virtual representative with information about preventing foodborne illness and safe food handling, storage, and preparation tips.

The FoodKeeper app is available for both Android smartphones and tablets and iOS products, and is just one way that working with government agencies helps food retailers provide solutions to consumer issues, like food waste, for us all.

David Fikes,

Vice President,
Consumer/Community Affairs and Communication