The survey was conducted by Sub-Zero Freezer Company, a manufacturer of residential refrigeration and wine storage appliances.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Statistical Abstract, the average family spends $103 on groceries each week, which means that nearly 14 percent of that bill never makes it to the dinner table due to improper storage techniques, Sub Zero said. This results in dumping the equivalent of more than 21 million shopping bags full of food into landfills each year (from The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality), it added.
"Without properly storing fresh food and leftovers, it is no surprise that families incur so much waste," said Jim Bakke, president and CEO for Sub-Zero Freezer Company and Wolf Appliance Company. "Our company has worked in refrigeration for more than 50 years, and through the announcement of our survey findings we hope to raise awareness for proper food storage, especially in advance of the holiday season when leftovers abound."
Too frequently, fresh food expires before consumed. According to the Sub-Zero survey, only 6 percent of Americans are able to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for as long as 2 weeks in their refrigerators.
"Over half of our survey participants are forced to throw out fresh fruits and vegetables in less than a week. With proper storage, you can keep that same produce fresh for at least 2 weeks, and even beyond," Mr. Bakke said. He added that Sub-Zero's proprietary dual refrigeration system keeps fresh food fresh longer, and frozen food frozen longer.
The report also showed that more than three-fourths of surveyed Americans eat leftovers at least once a week, and 17 percent keep food for 4 or more days, increasing the risk of illness.
"Prepared food should not be kept more than four days before it is consumed," said Sub-Zero and Wolf Executive Chef Eric Rupert. "The sooner you eat leftovers, the better the quality in terms of taste, nutrition, and safety."