Supermarket Loss Estimates for Fresh Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Poultry, and Seafood and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

A certain amount of food in supermarkets is deemed unusable (“food loss”) because of moisture loss, spoilage, and other causes. This study analyzed updated food loss estimates for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood obtained through a competitive grant with the Perishables Group, Inc. This independent consulting firm compared supplier shipment data with point-of-sale data from six large national and regional supermarket retailers to identify loss in 2005 and 2006. The new estimates, when incorporated into the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data, had little impact on aggregate per capita food loss estimates in 2006 because the new estimates were, on average, close to the previous loss assumptions. The new estimates increased annual per capita estimates of fresh fruit available at the retail level by 0.7 pounds (0.6 percent), 4.2 pounds (2.7 percent) for fresh vegetables, and 4.8 pounds (2.7 percent) for fresh meat, poultry, and seafood. The commodity-specific food loss estimates are more accurate than in previous years.

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Economic Information Bulletin
Number 44

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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