The Big Waste — Reaction From Fans on Facebook and Twitter

by in Community, Shows, January 11th, 2012

the big waste
Did you know about 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is never eaten? For every American, 200 pounds of perfectly edible food ends up in the trash each year — that’s enough waste to fill a football stadium every single day, according to Food Network’s The Big Waste, a food-waste special, which aired Sunday night.

The show brought to light just how much food America’s convenience stores, restaurants and supermarkets throw out every year: about 27 million tons. Chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli were given 48 hours to create a multi-course gourmet banquet using only food destined for the trash heap.

Scouring grocery aisles, produce farms, orchard lines and garbage piles on the streets of New York City, the chefs were astounded at the things people discarded.

They weren’t the only ones shocked. The show created quite a buzz on Twitter and Facebook when we asked fans “Tell us: What is one thing you will do to cut down on food waste?”

From Food Network’s Facebook fans:

Kelly Woker Weiand said: Stop cooking for an army when there’s only three of us and freeze food in single-serving containers for future lunches when we’re not tired of the leftovers anymore.

Hungry Healthy Happy said: Collect all of the ends off veggies that I chop off and put them into a freezer bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, I will make a stock from them.

Steph Corvetto said: That show really opened my eyes. I will not be so picky while in the supermarket with my food. I learned a lot last night!

LaDella Thomas said: I watched the show with my eight-year-old and he was appalled at the waste. I plan to raise kids who have that kind of reaction to this problem.

Cheryl Gyles said: Buy less, “shop” from my freezer first.

From Food Network’s Twitter fans:

@bitesizedchef said: Fancy leftover night. Refurbish old dinners by combo-ing a few meals, like brisket with French onion soup as gravy.

@sarahpriv said: Pick one day of the week to go through the fridge and use up or freeze food that is close to going bad.

@maria_svgirl92 said: Make more recipes such as banana bread, bread pudding and applesauce where you can use old bread or bruised fruit.

@Lbartsch said: I’m going to pulverize the crushed tortilla chips that always accumulates at the bottom of the bag to crust fish before frying.

@MusselShack said: Freeze unused fresh herbs before they spoil.

@geekgirlinky said: I think that planning meals can help eliminate waste, that way you only have on hand what you know you will use.

“We’ve got to train ourselves to eat less than perfect peaches,” says Alex Guarnaschelli.

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Comments (223)

  1. Jenny says:

    What they should do with all of the food is to…? Charities, homeless shelters, farmers market, canning, freezing, pickling, people in need, etc. You know some people are glad to even get a good meal every now and then when you have nothing. If farmers could give the food that they can’t sell to charities and they could get a tax return for giving to the people in need. In groceries stores they could do ½ price produce that didn’t sell. I am too a person that is struggling with my family in having a good meal. It would be great to go to a bakery, groceries stores, butcher shop, etc. to ask if they have any food that they can’t use in there shops.

  2. Sara says:

    You know what? It’s my money and I’ll spend it as I like. I got an education, I work hard, and I have more than enough money to spend on food — and to refuse to buy anything substandard, or to throw away stuff I don’t like or don’t use. Don’t like it? GET AN EDUCATION SO YOU CAN GET A HIGH-PAYING JOB TOO and stop playing victims or advocating yet another “social welfare” program to give even MORE to the lazy people in this country.

    • Suzanne says:

      Wow, this went right over your head. Use your money to buy some empathy.

    • Lucy says:

      I have an education, and I make less now than I did 10 years ago. And I've been in the workforce now for 35 years. That formula doesn't work anymore, Sweetie. Go volunteer in a food pantry once a month and then come back and tell me how easy it is to get a job at all, let alone one that affords you the opportunity to waste food.

    • Jenny says:

      Even if you have a great education on how the world is today your lucky too even get a part time job to even get by. If you have so much money and being all BIG you need to think about other than yourself.

    • Bud says:

      wow! enough food to fill up a football field dsnt open your eyes then nothing will. If we used some of the bruised and unwanted food the prices will drop. This in turn will help "you" save money since you are so self centered anyway. We as americans need to try and make our country better if not for other people then for ourselves and our children and their children. I make enough money to buy perfect food too but i wont be passing up the blemished tomatos any more. You need a little more Food for thought

      • bud says:

        also half the "substandard food" that you use wont be seen it will be cooked down, so whats wrong with a lop sided tomato that is red juicy and perfect for consumption?

    • Concerned says:

      I have an education with two degrees. I also HAD a high paying job. Corporate restructuring landed me in the unemployment line, thak you very much. As a result, I have had to restructure my budget in order to allow my daughter to peruse her masters degree. Try getting another job. I now find myself "over qualified"! How dare you sit in your ivory tower on your high horse and demean those that have less than you. I sure hope you don't find yourself in a lesser position, it would probably send into an unrecoverable depression. Wake up, look around, and take off the rose-colored glasses! Not everyone is as spoiled and self centered as you. Some actually care about other humans, and how much you, and others like you, are part of the problem!!!! Get with it, and stop being such a snob.

    • Mary Russell says:

      Money can't buy true love, non-renewable resources, understanding, or an education that leaves you wanting to, as Annie Leonard states, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

      It's not, and it never will be, about money. It's about our economy, equity and environment – sustainability. What will you do when your money and your job doesn't define who you are?

    • Stephanie says:

      SNOB!

    • Leenie says:

      Just goes to prove that education is no guarantee of protection against ignorance.

    • Karen says:

      WOW! Oh My Gosh! I hope you never have to walk in the shoes of someone who has lost their job and are not able to "work hard" any more or have to take a job where they now make 50% or more below what they used to make; just to take any job to support their family. Or what about not getting hired because they are over qualified?

      No one is asking you to buy substandard food or eat what you do not like but how about thinking of someone else. I know God gave everyone a heart you just need to find yours.

    • Kari says:

      I don't believe the children of this country to be Lazy!!! They are missing people to help them and show them but certainly not their fault. Can you even think about those in your backyard…..oooops probably not you…..maybe next door or across the street that you don't even realize might be hungry……Your EDUCATION means nothing without a HEART…..!!!!

  3. scloud says:

    After watching this show last week on the Foodnetwork i was shocked at how much food goes to waste just from the most simplist reasons! By watching this is show it has total changed my view on how to not waste the food I use at home! I was already raised on how to make a home cooked home from what we had in the kitchen when we didnt have enough money to out and by the "good stuff" my dad taught me and my siblings at young age how to strach a dollar. By watching this show I really want to try and do something in my own community were i get foods that have to be thrown out by the end of the night from bakerys, grocery stores, and restuarants and maybe do a little dinner for the homeless people and see what kind of awesome dishes i could come up with. Of course i would need help but, i really want to make this a goal of mine to do. and maybe i could change someone else views on how not waste food.

  4. Linny says:

    Way back in the beginning, I used to like watching the shows on FN. For them to put this show on…shows how arrogant the producers & chefs have become. Come on people, we are not stupid.
    These 4 chefs were “shocked” at the food wasted? Good God, don’t they all own restaurants and only want “perfect” food? This is part of the reason I no longer watch FN. The other reason is shows like Celebrity Cook-Off(never watched), Chopped,(yuck), those War & Challenge shows. Just not worth my time.

  5. jessie says:

    I would love to have the BiG Waste do this for my wedding – what a green way to start our life together – any suggestions how to accomplish this

  6. Sara says:

    “I HAD a high-paying job” — “I make less than I did 10 years ago” — who’s fault is that? Keep current and keep learning, don’t just sit there being complacent and complaining that the economy is causing all your problems. I swear, 99% of Americans are just an embarrassment any more. You’re all so proud of “dumpster diving” and eating garbage and “protesting” instead of working hard and improving not only your own lives but your country. Pathetic losers.

    • Raine202 says:

      Many people are working hard and not complaining, and still they fail…why…..who knows why….?

      People who are hungry and starving go dumpster diving and eat what we the people who are surviving just fine, call garbage.

      I agree though on the part of protesting, we need to be independent from the government…

      stop being so ignorant and saying that everyone sucks…..

      • Scott H. says:

        Seriously Sara…..gain a "Reality Check". People who 'aired' this show are NOT an "Embarrassment" as you so aptly put it.
        They are highlighting the 'Waste' of our current culture, the 'Disposable' Mentality of what is considered "Normal". My life took a "Drastic Improvement" when I became involved with Food & Cooking just over 2 years ago, as a 'Life Choice'.
        I am "Current & still Learning", after 19 years of Management for a Major Pharmacy & Bookseller back in NY – I Cook, and am getting my Sous Chef Certification (currently). Is it a "Fault" to earn less? Seriously, is money the sum of your focus?……. "Pathetic Loser!"

        Who is the one (inwardly) complaining? I improve the lives of others, not only in my "New" current occupation (Fine Dining), but the lives of my neighbors, who enjoy the fruits, recipes and dishes I create and share with them.

        You embarrass the 99% of Americans who see value in people, not just profit. Glad you have a job – Now Get A Life! (Worth Living)

  7. Angel Sage says:

    I think all the food that they cannot sell should go to charity. We have the feed the hungry and feed the children program in our country alone. I think vendors, sellers, farmers, and those who have this food that is still edible but they cannot sell it should donate it to these worthy causes such as food banks, homeless shelters, and even to the red cross and missions. You can train these workers in these charitable fields how to use them. I loved how Chef Robert Irvine fixed up and cooked up a meal on Restaurant Impossible for a food mission where they served those hungry and could not afford to buy their own meal. It was so beautiful.

  8. Scott H. says:

    Once it gets 'Face Time' the concept emerges, then it 'Trends', then it becomes the "In Thing" for diners & foodies alike… See The Episode: The Big Waste. It's worth the time to view. :+)

    Seriously, I have been doing this personally in my own life, and working "Fine Dining" I know what goes to "Waste"…..example (just today)…….fat cap on lamb racks (3), french the bone(s)…..xtra waste meat, bones "cut out" to make a better chop (6). Total meat/fat ratio to finished portions = 1/3.

    What I did with the "Waste"……….. you'll never know, but trust me, the 'Meal' my "Struggling" neighbor will enjoy tomorrow, with his wife, mother & 2 children…………Priceless.

    0 Waste kitchens will trend from 2013 to 2020. This show just 'nicked' the iceberg that struck the "Food" Ship……….Mark my Words! :)

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