The lessons learned span foodservice, manufacturing, grocery and restaurant

Washington, D.C. – Today the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) — a collaborative effort of the Consumer Brands Association, FMI - The Food Industry Association, and the National Restaurant Association—released a new report, Messy but Worth It: Lessons Learned from Fighting Food Waste, that highlights experience-driven advice to keep perfectly good food out of landfills.

For the guide, FWRA interviewed food manufacturers, grocers and foodservice operators to get their best tips on how to successfully launch a food waste reduction program and to sustainably nurture it over time. Some of the report’s key recommendations include:

  • Forge an internal food waste prevention culture. Education and cross-functional teamwork will help shift an organization’s status quo.
  • Research local infrastructure. Seek opportunities for food diversion at the local level and plan based on available resources.
  • Recover and redistribute surplus food to feed the community. A nonprofit partner can improve and expand efforts to donate food and will enhance community impact.
  • Measure current food waste status or it won’t get managed. Measuring edible retail food waste isn’t always straightforward, so understanding an organization’s food waste “foodprint” along the supply chain reveals opportunities for logistics improvement.
  • Consider composting. If composting is an option, the experts believe it’s a great addition to a comprehensive diversion strategy.

“The best way we can end the food waste crisis is by learning from the organizations, companies and people who have successfully done so, which is why this report is so critical for helping our collective industries combat it,” said Meghan Stasz, vice president, packaging and sustainability, Consumer Brands Association. “While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, this report provides the framework for companies large and small to institute smart, scalable solutions to reducing food waste.”

FMI Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability and Policy Development, Andy Harig, said, “Our organizations all share a common goal to showcase practical application of proven food waste mitigation strategies and reduce operational costs – this guide adds color to the process.”

“The findings in this report help highlight the restaurant industry’s commitment to food waste reduction, and the deep challenges that come with making systemic improvements,” said Laura Abshire, director of food and sustainability policy for the National Restaurant Association. “We believe the stories in this report capture important lessons learned and we encourage our members to look to the findings for the small changes they can make to advance their food waste reduction initiatives.”

Food waste reduction efforts are constantly evolving. This report is companion to the FWRA Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Guide, last updated in 2015, which includes strategies from food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators to assist likeminded organizations to keep food out of landfills and reduce food waste at the source.

Read the full report here.


About the Food Waste Reduction Alliance

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) is a collaborative effort of the Consumer Brands Association, the Food Industry Association, and the National Restaurant Association. The FWRA’s mission is to reduce the volume of food waste sent to landfill by addressing the root causes of waste, and securing pathways to donate or recycle unavoidable food waste.

About Consumer Brands Association

The Consumer Brands Association champions the industry whose products Americans depend on every day. From household and personal care to food and beverage products, the consumer packaged goods industry plays a vital role in powering the U.S. economy, contributing $2 trillion to U.S. GDP and supporting more than 20 million American jobs.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.6 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show May 16-19, 2020, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurantsFacebook and YouTube.