How Much Food Is Wasted in America?

How much food are we throwing away?
DavorLovincic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

In general, Americans consume a lot of food. Whether it is for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner or a snack, it adds up. 

Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet

There are many factors that can lead to food loss or waste. Between the farm and store shelves, food loss can come from issues during drying, milling, transporting or processing that expose food to damage by insects, rodents, birds, molds or bacteria. 

On the retail end, equipment malfunction, over-ordering and culling of blemished produce can result in food loss. Food loss also comes from people buying too much and throwing out what doesn’t get eaten. 

There is not an exact number for how much food is wasted in America, but it is estimated by the FDA that between 30% and 40% of the food supply in America is lost or wasted. That equates to about 80 billion pounds of food with an estimated cost of $161 billion. That works out to about 219 pounds of food per person annually. 


As a country, a lot of food is being wasted and thrown into landfills across the U.S., but some states are worse than others. Here are the states that waste the most and least amount of food.