The Rockefeller Foundation is dedicating $130 million over seven years to halving food loss and waste globally. Food loss, which is food that is grown but never makes it to market or plate, is predominantly a problem in developing markets. Food waste, or food that is available for consumption yet is thrown away and never eaten, represents a paradox of plenty: countries that have more food also waste more food. The Foundation is investing in solutions to solve both of these problems. There is tremendous opportunity for change – and many people and organizations already driving it.
Preventing Food Waste: A Growing Movement
Positive signals that change is underway include:
- The USDA and EPA announced a national goal to halve food waste by 2030 in the United States – an incredible public signal of the importance of this issue.
- Local governments are also committing to reducing food waste within their own boundaries and are creating a favorable environment for new partnerships to flourish. Cities, including some in The Foundation’s network of 100 Resilient Cities, are increasingly vocal about the need for better data on wasted food. At the same time, cities are beginning to realize the many ways reducing food waste can create value for them and their residents – be it cost savings, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, economic development, or increased food availability.
- Many businesses in the retail, manufacturing, and foodservice sectors are taking a public stance on the need to prevent food waste and sharing the financial, operational, and reputational benefits that result from doing so. Entrepreneurship is also flouring in the food waste prevention, recovery, and diversion fields and new technologies, business models, and products designed to reduce food waste are entering the market.
- Mainstream media has increased their coverage of the not just facts and statistics about the scale and impact of wasted food in the U.S., but also covered practical solutions on what can be done to address this problem and where the gaps are in the field.
The Rockefeller Foundation’s Current Priorities
Recognizing the inspiring momentum across the United States, The Rockefeller Foundation is providing support to further raise awareness while aiming to draw new actors to the table. We are investing in information and tools, and forging partnerships so that those interested can take action in their own organizations and supply chains – and inspire others to do the same.
Further, many solutions to prevent or reduce food waste already exist and may have broader applications, both in terms of who uses them and where they are used. The Foundation is thus supporting experiments to test how far and wide existing solutions can be deployed, and working to break down some of the barriers that could inhibit their expansion. We are supporting solutions that not only have the potential to transform whole industries or cities, but that also inspire consumers to take action and begin shifting the behaviors that lead to food waste in the first place. While many solutions exist today, truly transforming our food system to one that captures the full value of food also requires innovation. As we have throughout our history, the Foundation is investing in processes to generate new ideas, as well as in testing them.
The Foundation also knows that when the right combination of ideas and efforts work in concert, change can happen faster, in more places, and benefit more people. We therefore are supporting coordination, partnerships, and the infrastructure required to knit together many disparate efforts across the country.