WASHINGTON (May 11, 2022) – Food waste puts significant strain on the environment, economy and society. While current efforts to measure household food waste are hampered by multiple obstacles, it is estimated that more than one-third of US food waste happens in households. Today, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR), in collaboration with The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, is launching the Food Waste Challenge to develop an original, innovative methodology for quantitative measurement for food waste generated in US households. Objective, quantitative measurements would provide an accurate picture of the sources of food waste and benefit efforts to reduce this waste across the food system.
US household food waste is likely underestimated. Traditionally, multiple methods have been used to track household food waste, including surveys or specialized applications; however, these methods are inconsistent and use different understandings of “food waste.” Additional research is critical to reducing food waste and supporting interventions, requiring original approaches to gathering accurate and standardized measurements.
“To even begin the process of reducing food waste in US homes, we must first understand the scale of the problem,” said Lucyna Kurtyka, FFAR senior scientific program director. “For this reason, an accurate and standardized household food waste measurement is critical to reducing food waste at the consumer level.”
Food waste occurs for numerous reasons and at various levels throughout the food system, which makes tackling the problem especially challenging. The Food Waste Challenge prioritizes innovative projects that measure household food waste and emphasize collaboration among researchers and practitioners across multiple sectors and disciplines.
Successful measurement methodologies will consider possible barriers to wide adoption of the proposed methodology and approaches for overcoming them. Applications must also include a pilot study to validate the method and identifying stakeholders for implementing and analyzing measurements, among other requirements.
“It’s exciting to see so many dedicated entrepreneurs and innovators working to prevent food loss and waste today,” said Denise Osterhues, president of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and Kroger’s senior director of sustainability and social impact. “The first step to combating food waste is understanding the scale of the issue, which the Food Waste Challenge aims to illuminate. Through The Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation’s Innovation Fund, we help connect these innovators with resources to help them succeed and to advance positive changes for people and our planet.”
Applications are due July 13, 2022. Each grantee may receive up to $1 million. The Food Waste Challenge webpage includes more information about this funding opportunity and instructions on how to apply.
Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
About The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation
The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 2018. The Foundation was formed to support initiatives that create communities free of hunger and waste.