The woman who helped start the
waste-free movement”
— Consumer Reports
website shot--low res.jpg


Dana Gunders is a leading expert on food waste reduction. For almost a decade, she was a Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and one of the first to bring to light just how much food is wasted across the country through her 2012 report Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.  Her work has been covered on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, NPR Science Friday, CNN, NBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox, Dr. Oz and many other outlets.  After leaving NRDC in January 2018, Dana now advises companies, investors, and government agencies on food waste reduction via her business, Next Course LLC.

Key expertise include:


Consumer Insights

Having authored Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook, launched the Save the Food campaign (over $70M in donated media to date), overseen research on food waste in over 600 households, and overanalyzed her children’s food-throwing habits, Dana provides deep expertise on why consumers waste food. Applying this expertise to product design, she helps food and tech companies, such as Google, create products that help consumers waste less in their homes.

Business Strategy

Dana is a founding Board Member of ReFED and has been an advisor to both industry associations and individual food companies. She has helped businesses as small as food incubator Kitchentown and as large as Walmart to identify strategies that lead to less food wasted.

System Design

You might find Dana advising policymakers one day, informing philanthropy the next, and then touring a fulfillment center to provide operational recommendations. She has collaborated on food waste reduction projects that span the worlds of industry, policy, academia, media, technology, philanthropy, and households. Because of this, she has been an expert witness both in Congress and industry cases, and is able to bring that expertise and systems thinking to any project.



Next Course specializes in strategy and systems design towards an efficient food future.  We provide workshops, speaking, and advisory services focused on food waste reduction throughout the supply chain.  Clients include food and tech companies, government agencies, entrepreneurs, and NGOs.

Bringing Dana in on our food waste workshop was one of smartest moves I made at Walmart. She is a credible expert in the space and able to engage seamlessly with diverse teams of senior executives and business managers. She guided us through a process that ended with solid, actionable solutions that enabled the team to take ownership and execute.
— Rob Kaplan, former Director of Product Sustainability, Walmart

“Rot SWOT”

Are your products leading to food waste or helping to fight it? This quick and dirty analysis of a single product line or full product portfolio will outline the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your products related to food waste. A great way to take a pulse on where your products stand and get fodder for potential design improvements. Can be done for food, tech, or kitchen appliance products.


Want everyone in your company to care as passionately about food waste reduction as you do? Ready to crowdsource specific solutions from your own employees? These half and full-day workshops help your organization develop both the necessary buy-in and a roadmap of specific opportunities for wasting less food. Workshops range from basic to advanced and are customized for your organization.

Advisory Services

Not sure where to start on addressing food waste within your organization? We provide advisory services to food and technology companies, foundations, government agencies, and other institutions interested in developing strategies or products that reduce waste and increase efficiency within the food system.  Clients include Google, Dairy Management Inc, CoreMark, ReFED, and Kitchentown.


Interested in bringing the topic of food waste to light or hearing the latest advances at your next event? Dana is an experienced speaker, having keynoted several conferences and spoken at events ranging from New York Times Tomorrow's Food Future Conference to Bank of America's employee event to Meeting Planners International annual conference.  She is available for both internal presentations as well as larger public events. 

Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook

Gunders’s slim but indispensable new guide...offers up easy, practical tips and delicious recipes that will help reduce kitchen waste and save money.
— Washington Post
cover on table_cropped.jpg
Gunders is...a fine coach for the growing number of chefs and consumers who regret that ‘about 40 percent of all food in the United States does not get eaten.
— Chicago Tribune
Smart tips for making conservation-savvy decisions at the grocery store and making the most of what you cart home.
— The Atlantic

Imagine walking out of the grocery store with 4 bags full of fresh food, dropping one, and not bothering to pick it up.

Seems crazy, but that’s essentially what most of us are doing all the time. The average American throws away over $35 each month in the form of uneaten food. Yup, the lettuce that went bad, the leftovers you never got around to eating, and the science experiment in the back of the fridge you’re hoping your husband will clean up one day—they all add up to 15 to 25 percent of the food you buy going uneaten. 

Packed with checklists, practical strategies, and simple recipes, the Handbook is the ultimate tool for reducing food waste at home. It includes easy tips on how to:

  • Grocery shop smarter
  • Plan meals better
  • Decode expiration dates
  • Use your fridge to its full potential
  • Cook with leftover ingredients   (including 20 tasty “use-it-up” recipes)
  • Store foods properly, including specific shelf-life, storage and creative use-it-up ideas for more than 85 common foods

 Making a difference has never been easier or more delicious!


Forbes Column

To keep it interesting, I write for Forbes occasionally. Here are my latest articles.

Walter Robb.jpg

Whole Foods' Walter Robb Is Taking On Food Waste

As part of his next chapter, former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb is taking on food waste, having joined the boards of two key companies in the space over the last year.


With A Farmer's Market In A Warehouse, Blue Apron Works To Feed Its Employees, Too

Every Friday at each of its three fulfillment centers, the company holds a farmer’s market where employees are invited to take home excess produce and other inventory left over from the week’s operations, free of charge.


First Class Of Food Waste Fighters Graduate From Maersk Accelerator

Today, Maersk Growth graduated its first class of 10 startups from FoodTrack, a one-month custom accelerator program focused on reducing food waste. And that's just the start of its investment.

Apeel avo.png

An Avocado With Double The Shelf Life Debuts At Costco

If this coating can double the life of avocados, what else could it do?

Yappah Carrott Curry - Crisps.jpg

Tyson's Latest: Chips Made From Chicken Breast Odds And Ends

Tyson has introduced ¡Yappah! protein crisps. The No. 1 ingredient, as stated front and center on the package? Upcycled chicken breast.



For media inquiries, please use contact form below.

Just Eat It
The Big Waste:  Why Do We Throw Away So Much Food?

HBO: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Food Waste  
NBC Nightly News: September 18, 2013 Nightly News 
CNBC’s Closing Bell: Why Do We Waste Food? 
FOX Business The Willis Report Interview with Gerri Willis, Second Interview with Gerri Willis
Wall Street Journal Live Lunch Break:  The Truth About Food Labels 

NPR Science Friday Waste Not: The Ugly Truth About Food Waste in America
American Public Media’s Marketplace Money The economics of wasted leftovers
American Public Media – Marketplace: My milk has expired. Can I drink it?
American Public Media – Marketplace: Spilled and spoiled: In the U.S., consumers are the food wasters
NPR Talk of the Nation The Ugly Truth About Food Waste in America

New York Times: Starve a Landfill
TIME Magazine: ‘Til Mold Do Us Part
Washington Post: Use By, Sell By, Doesn’t Help Us Get By
FORBES: Stop!  Buy a Smaller Turkey



As Seen On...