Save the Food Takes Guess Work (and Waste) Out of Thanksgiving Planning

Each year consumers spend $218 billion on food that ends up going to waste. And, about $277 million of that waste will happen during Thanksgiving — when Americans begin to plan, purchase and prepare lavish meals which usually result in leftovers that ultimately end up in the trash. Now, two organizations have partnered to create an easy-to-use innovation that curbs food waste while making holiday cooking a little bit easier.

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To help hosts save six million turkeys — a value of around $293 million — from the trash this Thanksgiving, the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Save the Food national public service campaign have cooked up a new tech tool targeted at party hosts. While ultimately solving for food waste, this latest tech solution is actually presented more as a planning tool. The Guest-imator serves as a digital portion planning calculator and is designed to reduce the amount of food, money and resources that go to waste around the holidays. Using the Guest-imator is easy. Hosts enter the number of guests they’re expecting, the types of dishes they plan to prepare and the number of leftover meals desired. The Guest-imator calculates the amount of each food to prepare, taking into consideration the number of portions needed and the number of dishes offered and how filling each dish is. Rather than addressing what to do with the leftovers (as many other tech platforms do), the Guest-imator is getting ahead of the issue and targeting consumers who are the largest source of food waste — responsible for 43 percent.

The topic of food waste can seem immense and ugly – and one that can be hard for consumers to truly grasp. By addressing the issue on a single day during which consumers are hyper-aware of the amount of food they purchase and waste, the Guest-imator gives Americans a more attainable goal – and action plan. Rather than focusing on consumers’ negative waste habits, the Guest-imator entices buyers to consider the amount of food they serve, and ultimately trash, in terms they can understand —resulting in time and money saved.