Sixty-three percent of US grocery shoppers are concerned or very concerned about food waste in US, finds Harris Poll survey commissioned by Sealed Air; more than a third of food produced in US is never eaten
July 16, 2014
– Fifty million tons of food wasted every year in the United States alone;
American grocery shoppers report being more concerned about food waste in the U.S. than air pollution, water shortages, climate change and genetically modified foods; and
Yet, American grocery shoppers are least concerned about food waste in their own household.
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Global demand for food has never been higher, as populations skyrocket and developing areas of the world strive to feed their citizens. But in the United States, more than one-third of the food produced is never eaten and a new online survey of U.S. grocery shoppers' attitudes conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Sealed Air Corporation (NYSE: SEE) shows that food waste in the U.S. is near the top of the list of consumers' environmental concerns and they are willing to change behaviors if better informed on the issue. The April 2014 study interviewed over 1,000 U.S. adults (aged 18+) who do at least 25% of their household's grocery shopping ("American grocery shoppers").
Sealed Air commissioned the report to evaluate Americans' food habits, sustainability practices, and overall awareness of food waste issues. The study's key findings show that while there is growing concern and awareness of how much food is wasted in the United States, most American grocery shoppers still don't consider their own households to be wasteful or a part of the problem.
"The good news is that more and more people are becoming aware of the staggering statistics surrounding food waste and its devastating environmental, economic and social impact on the world," said Ron Cotterman, Vice President of sustainability at Sealed Air.
According to the survey, American grocery shoppers report being more concerned about food waste in the U.S. (63% concerned or very concerned) than other issues such as air pollution (59%), water shortages (57%), climate change (53%) and genetically modified foods (52%). However, most American grocery shoppers are not concerned about food waste in their own household. 63% say food waste in the U.S. is a concern, yet only 34% say food waste in their home is a concern.
While food packaging plays a key role in preventing waste, the Sealed Air study also found that American grocery shoppers:
associate food packaging more with safety than waste;
see discarded packaging as worse for the environment than food waste and food that has minimal or no packaging being more environmentally friendly; and
will often behave contrary to their beliefs (in the last six months, 40 percent have removed original packaging on store bought foods and repackaged it).
"Grocery shoppers have troubling misperceptions about food packaging, and mistakenly view it as a contributor to food waste rather than correctly acknowledging its role as food preserver," adds Cotterman. "We believe that by better understanding where and why food is wasted we can generate increased awareness and identify opportunities to help change consumer behavior and prevent food waste."
About the Study
The 2014 Food Waste Study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Sealed Air Corporation between April 18 and April 25, 2014. Survey respondents include 1,005 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S. and who do at least 25% of their household's grocery shopping. Results were weighted as needed for age by gender, education, race/ethnicity, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About Sealed Air
Sealed Air creates a world that feels, tastes and works better. In 2013, Sealed Air generated revenue of approximately $7.7 billion by helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals in the face of today's biggest social and environmental challenges. Our portfolio of widely recognized brands, including Cryovac® brand food packaging solutions, Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning and Diversey™ cleaning and hygiene solutions, ensures a safer and less wasteful food supply chain, protects valuable goods shipped around the world, and improves health through clean environments. Sealed Air has approximately 25,000 employees who serve customers in 175 countries. To learn more, visit www.sealedair.com. Information on Sealed Air's website is not incorporated into, and does not form a part of, this press release.
We routinely post important information for investors on our website, www.sealedair.com, in the "Investor Relations" section. We use this website as a means of disclosing material, non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Accordingly, investors should monitor the Investor Relations section of our website, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings, public conference calls, presentations and webcasts. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this document.
About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
Statements in this press release may be "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 concerning our business, consolidated financial condition and results of operations. These statements include comments as to future events that may affect Sealed Air, which are based upon management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainties, many of which are outside Sealed Air's control. Forward-looking statements can be identified by such words as "anticipates," "expects," "believes," "plan," "could," "estimate," "will" and similar expressions. A variety of factors may cause actual results to differ materially from these expectations, including economic conditions affecting packaging utilization, changes in raw material costs, currency translation effects, and legal proceedings. For more extensive information, see "Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements," which appear in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as may be revised and updated from time to time by our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website at www.sec.gov or our Investor Relations home page at http://ir.sealedair.com. Information on Sealed Air's website is not incorporated into, and does not form a part of, this press release. Sealed Air does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which any such statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
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