What Waste?

Chefs plating at 2017’s Supper at the Farm event in Atlanta, Georgia (Photo Credit: Dessa Lohrey)

Food professionals have long practiced food waste reduction – through changing purchasing habits to minimize waste, better communicating with producers, purchasing seconds and commonly overlooked meat and seafood, utilizing as much as possible in creative ways, and ensuring as little as possible becomes waste in the end. It’s good business, and it’s the right thing to do. Let’s change the conversation from Food Waste to What Waste?



Food waste is a critical issue. Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10% of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50% of U.S. land, and swallows 80% of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40% of food in the U.S. today goes uneaten.

What chefs can do: Learn. Engage. Share.






  • Listen to our August 2016 Chef Power Hour podcast to learn how chefs can tackle food waste in the professional kitchen, featuring: Dana Gunders (Natural Resources Defense Council), Katherine Miller (James Beard Foundation), Danielle Nierenberg (Food Tank), Chef Steven Satterfield (Miller Union, Chefs Collaborative Local Leader), and Betsy Barrett (Food Policy Action). This Chef Power Hour was sponsored by Greener Fields Together.


In your restaurantthank you to Member chef Steven Satterfield for sharing some approaches!

  • Purchase wisely – think carefully about how much fresh food you will need
  • Don’t discriminate against seconds or slightly damaged produce
  • Preserve or put up for later use
  • Serve smaller portions and encourage diners to take home leftovers
  • Compost at home and in your restaurants!
  • Donate food to local organizations
  • Feed your staff with creative food waste challenges
  • Track waste – huge $$ saving opportunity as you change cooking and purchasing behavior

In your community

  • Educate your customers about how you help curb food waste, and about what they can do

With food policy opportunities

  • Interested in joining Food Policy Action’s next Capitol Hill fly-in? Contact us and we’ll connect you with partners and friends on the ground taking action on this issue, including Food Policy Action, ReFED, James Beard Foundation & more.


Share what you’re learning about food waste with your chef and food professional network.