To what extent does the recent politicization of "food waste" in France and the United States change the valuation of excess food in the broader food system? This presentation focuses on specific public policies, corporate actions and social movements targeting the issue of "food waste" around Paris, France, and the Bay Area, California. Through interviews and on-the-ground participant-observation with actors involved in food waste prevention and management, I analyze how they concretely deal with the production and (re)distribution of excess food and what market and non-market value(s) they associate with the food. I show that various organizations and actors, with divergent activities, interests and positions in the food system in two national contexts, see excess food in different ways: as a necessity, as a constraint or danger to eliminate, as a shortfall or dysfunction to optimize, as a resource to access, as an opportunity to take advantage of, or as a injustice to fight. Therefore the actors compete both within and between organizations to direct excess food to certain distribution circuits according to their interests. I argue that the organizational structures and balance of power in the food system, as well as cultural factors, explain the way "food waste" has been constructed as a social issue in the last few years. This specific politicization process may bring marginal changes in the valuation of (excess) food, but does not challenge overall how food is currently valued, produced and exchanged.