$161 billion of food wasted each year
A report published by the USDA estimates the annual wastage of food to be at over $161 billion at the retail and consumer stage of the supply chain, with 30% of losses in fruits and vegetables occurring in the earlier stages of the chain. One factor impacting food loss is price volatility. When prices fall below production costs, it becomes unprofitable for growers to advance produce through the supply chain. When prices go up, growers may be incentivised to send products of lower cosmetic quality to market, which can then lead to increased loss further down the supply chain. Other influencing factors include labour costs, the availability of cold-chain infrastructure, aesthetic standards, consumer preferences, contract requirements, and policies related to the harvest and marketing of fresh produce.