Ever wondered what grocery stores do with all of the produce and bakery items they don't sell?  Sometimes it's donated or recycled, and sometimes it just plain goes to waste.  East Texas stores have been graded on accountability, prevention, and recycling, and one of them gets an F.

I don't know about you, but I will plan an entire weekend around a ripening avocado.  When that thing peaks, I will be ready and waiting with a chip!  If something goes to waste at my house, I always feel like I could have done a better job with my eating plans.

Grocery stores have a lot to deal with, especially in the produce, bakery, and deli sections.  I don't know how they do it.  They do a great job of always making sure we have access to apples, bananas and spring mixes when we need them, and keeping us constantly supplied with fruits and veggies comes with the challenge of finding the perfect balance so that nothing goes to waste.  It must be a constant battle, and I don't fault them for letting some foods slip though the cracks.  It's probably our fault for not buying it all up.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign scored 10 grocery stories on what they are doing to reduce food waste, and the big conclusion was that US grocers tend to focus on donating and recycling food waste, rather than preventing it from the beginning.

This is how the various US grocery chains did with the letter grade to the right, and the score out of a possible 60.

1. Walmart: B, 32
2. Ahold Delhaize: C, 26
3. Kroger: C, 24
4. Albertsons: C, 22
5. Target: D, 17
6. Trader Joe's: D, 16
7. Whole Foods: D, 14
8. Costco: D, 14
9. Publix: D, 11
10. ALDI: F, 7

Longview and Tyler both have ALDI stores, but there are none in Lufkin or Nacogdoches.  Do you feel like the F grade is fair?

ALDI is on my rotating list of grocery store stops depending on what we need at the time, and what area of town I happen to be in when we need it.  (If nothing else, ALDI has some great gluten-free pretzels and tasty popcorn snacks.  For real.)   And I've picked up good bananas there.

The group didn't rank H-E-B or Brookshires, so we can't be sure how they would fare on this list about wasted food.  But congrats to Walmart on wasting the smallest amount.

Food pantries and soup kitchens can end up with some good produce and bread thanks to these stores and their awareness to donate, so it's not all bad.  But with millions of dollars out the door in wasted food each year, you know the conversation about how to cut down on it will continue.

Think of it this way.  We can really do these stores a favor by having huge backyard grilling parties this spring and summer with lots of meat, garlic bread, and a big ole fruit salad.  We should totally buy up and eat big and feel good about it.  The stores are counting on us.

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