Apr 23, 2012 • By

A recipe for food waste

Did you know that the U.S. generates more than 60 million tons of food waste every year?

That means the average American annually throws away 270 pounds of food (as depicted in this photo). That’s $500 out of your pocket and into the trash every year. For a family of four, that’s $2,000.

We marked Food Waste Awareness day at General Mills World Headquarters, on Friday. A lunchtime event topped off Sustainability Week and was designed to help employees understand the issue of food waste in our industry.

Food sent to landfills represents lost opportunities to realize processing and waste management efficiencies, feed the hungry and divert this material to beneficial alternatives.

That’s why General Mills and a number of peer companies have banded together to form the Food Waste Mitigation Coalition to tackle this important issue.

I talked to Bob Branham, General Mills’ director of customer sustainability, about our event. In this video, he discusses how consumers can do their part in reducing food waste. And, how General Mills is weekly composting two tons of food waste at our headquarters.

So, why is composting important?

According to Professor Tom Halback, extension state specialist for waste management and water quality at the University of Minnesota, composting has many benefits. Not only because it gives us a use for food waste, but it’s also good for the environment.

Looking for a simple idea for some of your kitchen waste?

The Betty Crocker Kitchens has developed a delicious cookie recipe using leftover coffee grounds and apple peels. (I tried these, they’re really good!)

Crunchy Compost Cookies


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

1 egg

½ cup crushed pretzels

¼ cup finely chopped apple peel (from one large apple)

2 tablespoons used coffee grounds

½ cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped

1. Heat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in pretzels, apple peel, coffee grounds and almonds.

2. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with fingers to flatten slightly.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Store covered at room temperature.

Makes 24 cookies

© General Mills 2012

Editor’s note: For further reading on food waste, read our posts “The impact of food waste” and “How Second Harvest helps rescue food.”