Our Work

The sources of food waste are varied and many, from the farm, to the plant floor, to the restaurant kitchen, to the consumer at home.

FWRA’s work is focused on the sources that we can most directly impact – our own U.S. operations (manufacturing, retail and restaurant/foodservice). FWRA’s objectives are to reduce our environmental footprint while helping those suffering from hunger. To meet these objectives, we are focused on three strategic goals:

Goal #1

reduce the amount of food waste generated

An estimated 25-40% of food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. will never be consumed.

Goal #2

donate more safe, nutritious food to people in need

Some generated food waste is safe to eat, and can be donated to food banks and anti-hunger organizations, providing nutrition to those in need.

Goal #3

recycle unavoidable food waste, diverting it from landfills

For food waste, a landfill is the end of the line; but when composted, it can be recycled into soil or energy.

FWRA’s Workstreams

Assessment- Measuring Food Waste

Measuring food waste is the single most impactful best practice to drive waste reduction. As the saying goes — “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

Prior to FWRA’s efforts, most food waste studies were based on estimates and extrapolation. FWRA set out to collect more accurate measures based on data directly from participating companies. The result is a series of studies providing a clearer picture of food donation and food waste by each sector — manufacturing, retail and restaurant/foodservice. These surveys and reports show not only where food donation and food waste is happening in these sectors, but also begins to help us understand why.

Emerging Solutions & Best Practices

FWRA released a survey highlighting the great strides being made by manufacturers and retail companies in food donation, food waste reduction and diversion from landfills. The following year, the Emerging Solutions & Best Practices subcommittee of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance used those study results to begin identifying the best practices within the manufacturing, retail and restaurant industry. The compilation resulted in the very first FWRA Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Toolkit outlining strategies from food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators and sharing strategic approaches to assist likeminded organizations to keep food out of landfills and reduce food waste at the source. Food waste reduction efforts are constantly evolving, and, in November 2015, FWRA released a second volume, providing additional insight; revisiting model practices and emerging solutions compiled from more than 40 FWRA member companies and expert partners from the hunger relief and waste management sectors; and featuring new real-life examples and case studies.


Food waste is a problem all across the U.S. and the Food Waste Reduction Alliance is working to meet this challenge in many ways. One approach focuses on the public policies in various parts of the country that create incentives for food donation to those in need or that result in robust infrastructure for landfill alternatives, such as composting facilities or anaerobic digestion. While there is no “one size fits all” solution for food waste, some parts of the U.S. have high donation rates and/or many economically viable options for diverting food waste from landfills.

FWRA works to identify policies that create those high rates of food donation and infrastructure options.

FWRA’s Guiding Policy Principles:

  • FWRA supports and endorses the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) food recovery hierarchy to prioritize actions to prevent and divert food waste.
  • FWRA supports voluntary actions to reduce food waste and is making great strides in food waste reduction through voluntary activities by our members. For example, FWRA is working to increase food donation, collect food waste data through our assessment survey, create tools for waste reduction, streamline date labeling to decrease consumer confusion, and share best practices on source reduction, food donation, composting, and anaerobic digestion.
  • FWRA advocates for educational efforts to increase public awareness around food waste issues including date labeling, liability protection for donation, and source reduction.
  • FWRA advocates for policies that support the development of the food waste recycling and donation infrastructure across the nation. Having a cost effective way for businesses to recycle food waste is essential and building the infrastructure is the first step.
  • FWRA advocates for policies that are designed to economically reduce, recover and recycle food waste. FWRA also advocates for uniformity in policies within states on the issue of food waste.
    • Standardized policy is useful in this area because cities, counties, and municipalities can often enact different policies. This patchwork can be difficult to comply with, lead to confusion, and produce a barrier to reducing food waste and increasing donation.
  • FWRA advocates for increased federal and state tax incentives to encourage food donation and increased liability protection for donors.


Engagement with a broad range of stakeholders is critical to identifying and implementing challenges and solutions to these complicated issues. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance engages with stakeholders working on all aspects of food waste reduction and food donation in the U.S. In 2019, FWRA announced a formal agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce food loss and waste through industry and agency-specific actions.

FWRA also liaises with organizations such as the U.S. Composting Council, the World Wildlife Fund, and ReFED as are all working on specific aspects of food waste. Learning from and sharing findings with these thought-leaders is an important element of this initiative.

Similarly, FWRA and its participating companies also works to raise the profile of this issue nationwide, educating diverse audiences about the issue and the work of FWRA through speaking engagements, tools and best practices guides. There is no better opportunity to help feed the hungry and reduce our environmental footprint than tackling the challenge of food waste and communication is a critical component of reaching our goals.