Food Waste
Technology for Tackling America's Food Waste Crisis
How Simple Changes Can Have a Big Impact

America has long been a land of abundance. Known for its agricultural riches, and with the serving portions to match, it comes as no surprise that food waste has become a major problem. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 30 to 40% of America’s food supply goes to waste each year, roughly equating to over 100 billion pounds of food being thrown out annually. 

While discarding unwanted leftovers and ingredients that have gone past their sell-by date may seem inconsequential on the day-to-day, food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills. The wastage not only encompasses the physical quantities of food being dumped, but the energy, water and labor used to grow, harvest, transport and package that food as well. Due to its swift decay rate, rotting food in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas that’s even more detrimental than carbon dioxide. In fact, food in landfills contribute more methane emissions than any other material in landfills.

The solution is clearly simple - to consume less. It’s easier said than done, of course, but with some systematic planning and clever technology, cutting down on food wastage could be in attainable reach for many, and make a huge impact on the environment. Rose Morabito, co-owner of Friend of a Farmer, a family-owned restaurant in New York City that has pioneered the farm-to-table movement ever since it opened in 1986, says that mitigating food waste is a natural extension of its seasonally-driven ethos. Over the last three decades, Friend of a Farmer’s approach has continued to resonate with visitors from near and far. Today, the original restaurant on Irving Place in Manhattan stands within a quaint, two-storey townhouse, and was recently joined by a new, much-needed addition on the Upper West Side. 

‘Being in the restaurant industry, food waste is definitely top of mind,’ Rose Morabito says. ‘At Friend of a Farmer, we bring in a significant amount of produce, meat and poultry daily, so we try our best to eliminate any sort of waste by using the same items across multiple dishes, offering specials and adjusting quantities based on the season. We make a conscious effort to order a specific quantity based on the time of year, while taking holidays, time of the week, and upcoming reservations into account.’

Treating your weekly shopping list as if you were ordering produce for a restaurant might feel dramatic, but working within similar guidelines is an effective way to curb purchases that you might not need. ‘The restaurant industry has definitely rubbed off on me,’ Morabito adds. ‘At home, I typically take my schedule into account when grocery shopping. I buy my produce and cook in the beginning of the week when I know I'll be home most, which reduces a significant amount of waste.’

She says, ‘Two of the biggest tips I’d suggest would be to use ingredients you already have in your home while cooking and try to buy things that can pair with those items. Also, when buying produce for the week, I try to get items that aren't fully ripe yet, so it doesn't go to waste within a day or two.’

Changing consumption habits may feel like a long-term goal, but in the interim, smarter solutions, like adopting a better food storage system or relying on your appliances’ in-built technology, can help to extend the shelf life of fresh produce. Using glass containers and clearly labeling them for easy identification helps to keep ingredients in the fridge within easy reach. Portioning out leftovers also helps them to be conveniently consumed - first in, first out tends to be the rule. 

Today’s modern refrigerators boast a bounty of features to intelligently support the food that goes into your fridge. Dacor’s FreshZone™ technology allows a wide variety of foods to be stored at optimal temperatures with the touch of a button. Highly flexible and adaptable, the adjustable temperature settings, together with its Triple Cooling System that’s powered by dual digital inverter compressors*, means that food quality is preserved at the highest level. Its stainless steel interior** also supports a consistent temperature and high humidity environment throughout, Best of all, the integration of the SmartThings platform means you can monitor your fridge’s contents remotely via an interior camera*** to make grocery shopping more effective. You’ll never have to guess what’s in your fridge again.

*Dual Digital Inverter only available in 42 Inch and 48 Inch refrigerators 

**Stainless steel interior availalbe in select models

***Interior camera function through Smart Things platform available in select models

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