Food Waste Reduction and Recovery - Agriculture & Manufacturing


EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy

Food is currently being wasted at all steps of the supply chain - the first being agriculture and manufacturing. This includes crop producers, dairy farmers, animal farmers/livestock producers, plant and animal processors, and manufacturing businesses.

Some food products do not even the leave the farm. What are some reasons that food may not leave the farm?

  • Imperfect or misshapen fruits and vegetables
  • Varying ripening speeds cause growers to be unable to find buyers before product overripens
  • Some products perish quickly making shipping and selling difficult
  • Market prices too low to harvest crops
  • Lack of labor to harvest crops

Loosing food at this stage not only creates a waste, but it uses a large number of resources. Growing food requires land, fertilizers, pesticides, energy, and water.

The farming and manufacturing industry is coming up with solutions to food waste using the Food Recovery Hierarchy.

Some are creating markets for imperfect to feed people. These crops are edible but are not viewed as top grade and would be unlikely to sell at conventional wholesale markets. Others are creating markets for overripe foods that can be used to feed animals.

Use the resources below to learn more about food waste and recovery in Agriculture and Manufacturing.

Additional Resources


Michigan Regulatory Information

Environmental Impacts of Food Waste