Reddit Is Divided Over Massive Food Waste At Publix

Food waste is no joke — and it goes well beyond scraping those last crumbs from your plate into the garbage can. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as much as 40% of the country's overall food supply ends up in the garbage. Whether it's spoilage, blemished food that can't be sold (pro tip: "ugly" produce is still perfectly safe to eat), or a consumer just not liking their meal, the waste adds up to a staggering 108 billion pounds in the U.S. alone, per Feeding America.

While it's likely not possible to eliminate all food waste, there have been movements to reduce the food that ends up in landfills, including companies designed to sell blemished produce, such as Imperfect Foods, and non-profits that work to redistribute unused food. Still, some would argue that grocery stores, restaurants, and other food establishments could be doing more to prevent waste — through several Reddit users are convinced that solving the problem is not as easy as it seems.

A photo taken at Publix has Reddit users taking sides on food waste

Do grocery stores care about food waste? According to one Reddit user, no. The user posted a photo of a Publix shopping cart loaded with what appeared to be old food and sarcastically captioned it "intolerant of waste." Interestingly, it looked like the food came from the Publix bakery department, meaning it was baked in-store by employees.

When another user suggested letting employees take food home that wasn't purchased to avoid throwing it away, others said it would only make the problem worse; it created a divide. "If you let employees take what didn't sell, they will overproduce intentionally," one user said, also noting that they have "witnessed" it happen. Someone else, who said they previously worked for Subway, agreed. "We 'wasted' [our] cookies at the end of the night," they wrote. "We were going to be closed the next day because of a hurricane so I baked twice the amount of cookies so I could 'intentionally' take them home with me."

Someone asked why we "should care" that employees are taking food home. "People are being fed, the food isn't wasted," the user wrote. While some think letting employees take leftover food home with them would be a good way to combat the issue, others are certain that it would only create a bigger mess.