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  1. Health and Nutrition News

  2. Mar 28, 2018

Food Waste: It’s Not What You Think

The most important source of food waste is not uneaten portions that end up in the trash. According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the biggest issue is animal-based food products. Replacing these products with plant-based foods would feed more people with less waste. Researchers compared the impact of plant-based replacements for animal-based products on environmental resources they termed “opportunity food losses,” including cropland use and retail-to-consumer waste. Plant-based food replacements of the most resource-intensive animal-based products, including beef, pork, dairy, poultry, and eggs, would produce up to 20-fold more nutritious food with the same land requirements. These results suggest a dietary shift away from all animal products in the U.S. would yield enough food for an additional 350 million people.


  1. Shepon A, Eshel G, Noor E, Milo R. The opportunity cost of animal based diets exceeds all food losses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Published online March 26, 2018.

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