All of us probably think of ourselves as smart food shoppers.
But what about the food we don't eat: the food that's thrown away?
It's a bigger problem than you think.
Victoria Ligon, from the University of Arizona, is a consumer sciences researcher at the University of Arizona.
Her research suggests something unappetizing: the average American household is throwing away $1,000 worth of food a year, often without realizing it.
"People tend to leave food in the refrigerator until they just absolutely have to clean the whole thing out and throw out lots of food out at once. People really just don't realize what they actually throw away in their households," said Ligon.
And that's a problem: food waste is expensive.
It consumes resources and you may not even be aware you're doing it.
But what's the solution?
Actually, there are several, including one that sounds counterintuitive: shop more often.
"If people are shopping for the food that they're going to eat tonight, tomorrow, maybe even the next day, they're much more likely to accurately predict not only what they're going to want to eat, but how much of it to buy," said Ligon.
Another idea is to harness technology.
There are free apps out there that can help you keep track of what's on hand and even suggest recipes to use what you already have, before it goes bad.
Finally, there's the most obvious thing: pay attention.
If you find yourself throwing away food because you bulk bought it, stop doing that.
There are lots of good tips to help you on Money Talks News. Just do a search for "Wasting Food."