Approximately 600,000 tons of food are wasted every year in Utah, while 511,000 Utahns don’t always have enough to eat – which makes Earth Day the perfect time to talk about our Grocery Rescue program.
Did you know the United States leads the world in food waste, with Americans discarding nearly 80 billion pounds of food every year? In fact, food takes up more space than any other single item inside US landfills. All that waste has lasting environmental consequences.
Food that sits decaying in landfills produces nitrogen pollution, which causes algae blooms and dead zones. It also wastes the water and energy it took to produce it – $165 billion worth – and generates the equivalent greenhouse gases of 37 million cars! With the Grocery Rescue program, we take food that would otherwise contribute to this waste and destruction and distribute it to those in need.
The Grocery Rescue program is a partnership between Utah Food Bank and retailers across Utah that provides a safe and efficient donation outlet for food that is nearing its expiration date but is still safe, healthy, and wholesome to eat. Six days a week, Utah Food Bank and our partners send refrigerated trucks throughout the state and pick up unsalable food donations that would otherwise be thrown away. Instead, donations are collected and distributed within 24 hours to Utahns who need them most.
This program has become a highly successful means of addressing poverty, hunger, and food waste in Utah and continues to fill an essential nutrition gap for Utahns facing hunger while at the same time reducing the amount of wasted food. Last year, this program provided 16 million pounds of food for Utahns facing hunger. Fresh produce, dairy, and meats that would otherwise end up in landfills instead find their way to our neighbors facing food insecurity.
The Grocery Rescue program plays a crucial role in the fight against hunger and the fight to protect our planet. A heartfelt thanks to the 270 retailers across the state who make this program possible!