The woman who helped start the
waste-free movement”
— Consumer Reports
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Next Course is led by Dana Gunders, a national expert and strategic advisor for food waste reduction. Dana focuses on solutions that prevent surplus food from occurring, as those are the solutions with the highest financial and environmental return. Some of her proudest achievements include authoring Waste Free Kitchen Handbook, testifying in Congress, and helping to launch both the food-waste think tank ReFED and the now $100M Save the Food campaign. 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.  

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.

Dana is passionate, has an accurate answer for every question and a comprehensive perspective on the industry. Her deep knowledge in the food recovery and rescue space is unmatched. Additionally, she is willing to help with any task, big or small, and tackles questions with creativity and an analytical mind. I’d work with Dana again in a heartbeat.”
— Benna Wise, Strategist, Google X