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This State Wastes the Most Food, New Survey Finds

Residents of this one state throw away nearly $1,400 worth of food every year.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

We've all been there: you opt for a few unplanned takeout meals during the course of a long week and before you know it, those groceries you'd intended to eat are suddenly past their prime. Food waste is a major problem in the U.S. and beyond; according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, between 30 and 40 percent of food in the U.S. is wasted, with approximately 133 billion pounds of food worth $161 billion dollars thrown out each year.

However, not all states are equal when it comes to their food waste. While a new study from U.S. Packaging and Wrapping reveals that Oklahomans waste the least food each year—at approximately $743.58 worth of groceries per capita—one state's residents toss out nearly twice that much food on an annual basis.

Read on to discover which state wastes the most food every year. And for some foods that are absolutely worth keeping in your kitchen and on your plate, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

10

Wyoming

cheyenne wyoming streetscape
Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,060.81

America's least populous state has a big problem when it comes to food waste. Wyoming's approximately 580,000 residents waste an average of $1,060.81 worth of groceries each year.

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9

Idaho

Boise cityscape at night with traffic light
Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,071.30

Idaho's approximately 1.7 million residents have a major food waste problem on their hands. Each year, Idahoans waste an average of $1,071.30 worth of food each.

Related: 12 Easy Ways You Can Cut Down on Food Waste Now, According to Experts

8

Oregon

Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon
Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,079.62

Oregonians may waste a significant amount of food per capita each year, but research suggests they realize there's a problem. According to U.S. Packaging and Wrapping's data, Oregon ranks sixth out of the 50 states when it comes to awareness of their food waste issues.

Related: The Best Farmers Market in Every State

7

Montana

Sunset in Montana
Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,091.23

Big Sky Country has a big problem when it comes to wasting food. The state's approximately 1.069 million residents waste an average of $1,091.23 in groceries each every year.

6

Massachusetts

Boston Skyline with Financial District and Boston Harbor at Sunset, USA
Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,134.53

Massachusetts residents may waste a significant amount of food, but it's not exactly a secret. The state's residents rank seventh out of 50 states when it comes to awareness of their food waste issue.

5

New Hampshire

Exeter, New Hampshire
iStock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,165.51

Massachusetts isn't the only state in New England with some serious food waste issues. New Hampshire residents waste nearly $1,200 worth of food per year, but they rank 10th out of the 50 states when it comes to awareness of the problem.

RELATED: This Harmful Chemical in Food Packaging Was Hidden from the FDA, New Report Says

4

Alaska

Anchorage Skyline with a winter reflection
Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,239.47

Alaska is well-known for its high cost of groceries, but the state's residents still manage to waste a significant amount of that costly food. U.S. Packaging and Wrapping's data suggests that the average Alaskan wastes a whopping $1,239.47 in groceries each year.

3

Hawaii

aerial daytime view of pearl harbor at the edge of pearl city hawaii
Shutterstock / Steven Phraner

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,271.35

Like Alaska, Hawaii is a non-contiguous state, meaning it can be more difficult—and more expensive—to get groceries produced within the lower 48 states. However, that doesn't keep Hawaii's residents from wasting nearly $1,300 in groceries apiece each year.

2

Maine

Augusta, Maine, USA downtown skyline on the Kennebec River.
Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,273.33

Maine's got a sizable food waste problem—and its residents are all too aware of it. Not only is Maine the state with the second-largest food waste problem in the U.S., but the New England state also ranks second for awareness of the issue.

RELATED: The Worst Food Storage Mistake You're Making Right Now, According to Experts

1

Vermont

vermont mountains
Jenna Brisson/Shutterstock

Annual per capita grocery waste: $1,374.24

The Green Mountain State isn't very green as far as its habit of tossing groceries is concerned, with residents throwing away an average of $1,374.24 worth of food each year. However, the issue isn't a secret among Vermonters, who rank number one for awareness of the problem.

For more, check out 12 Easy Ways You Can Cut Down on Food Waste Now, According to Experts.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more