Yep, that number is correct – the U.S. wastes 40% of everything it produces. And it’s not from wasteful consumer habits as much as the lack of efficient food logistics.
This is why food charities rely on dry goods and non-perishable items. Food retailers won’t sell discolored, blemished and/or bruised produce, so many resort to throwing it out instead of passing it along to local charities.
Most non-profits don’t have the capabilities to track and gather unsellable or overstocked items.
Is there a solution? Yes. An organization called Food Cowboy is trying to solve this problem by utilizing JIT (just-in-time) logistics technology. Food Cowboy “uses mobile technology to safely route surplus food from wholesalers and restaurants to food banks and soup kitchens instead of to landfills.”
Co-founder Roger Gordon says the company is, “An air-traffic control or a routing system” for unwanted food. He also believes that the biggest proponent of food waste is unpredictability. It’s hard to predict the quantity, quality and location of wasted food. This is where the mobile app comes in handy: it alerts charities of produce available in their area and gives information such as quality and number of items.
The Food Cowboy database currently houses 700 charities, including 350 food banks. It works with 500 truckers around the country. The ultimate goal? To sign up 50,000 restaurants and have every supermarket in the country participate in its distribution program.
“We want every supermarket donating actively. Now we’ve got the infrastructure finally to support them.” – Roger Gordon
What do you think of Gordon’s lofty goal? Can just-in-time technology help minimize U.S. food waste?
Watch the video below to learn more about Food Cowboy: