The woman who helped start the
waste-free movement”
— Consumer Reports
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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.

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


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.

Dana is a visionary change agent. She brings passion and a collaborative mindset to proactively find solutions for food waste and sustainable food.
— Erin Fitzgerald, CEO, US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance

“Rot SWOT” Product Reviews

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. 

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