Food Waste Focus Blog

Caution: Food Waste Diversion Strategies Alone May Encourage Complacency

Posted by Andrew Shakman, Co-Founder & CEO on Oct 22, 2014 // 12:5 AM

We’re excited to see the foodservice industry paying much closer attention to food waste than at any time in the last 10 years. In broad terms, food waste management techniques either prevent food waste in the first place or, once it has been created, divert it from a landfill to some other end-of-life use. Prevention is at the top of the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy because it has the best environmental and financial outcomes.

The growing interest in food waste across the foodservice industry has kept us very busy at LeanPath working on prevention, and we’re also seeing extensive diversion efforts. Operators are using food dehydrators, aerobic digesters, composting and offsite anaerobic digesters to ensure food waste doesn’t get buried in the ground and produce methane gas.

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Topics: Food Waste Prevention Newsletter

Food for Thought: Monitoring Leads to Positive Behavior Changes

Posted by Patricia Kelly, Director of Sales on Oct 15, 2014 // 11:45 PM

If you knew you were being monitored, would you change certain aspects of your behavior? You would, according to the Hawthorne effect, an idea that holds that people alter their behavior when they sense they are being observed. A recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University confirmed this theory when it measured the energy usage of a group of utility customers who had been notified that their energy usage would be monitored for one month as part of an experiment.

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Topics: Food Waste Musings

Solving a Food Cost Mystery

Posted by Andrew Shakman, Co-Founder & CEO on Sep 26, 2014 // 05:15 AM

You know what your food cost should be. But how often does it hit the mark exactly? When it misses the target, why did it happen?

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Topics: Food Waste Prevention Newsletter

Sweden: A Global Leader in Reducing “Matavfall” (Food Waste)

Posted by Laurie Horning, Business Development Associate on Sep 26, 2014 // 02:48 AM

* This post is part of an ongoing series, "Food Waste Around the Globe." To see all related posts, click here.

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Topics: Food Waste Around the Globe

[Profile] Matt Yoder of Juniata College

Posted by Janet Haugan, Director of Marketing on Aug 21, 2014 // 01:24 AM

LeanPath recently sat down with Executive Chef Matt Yoder from Sodexo Dining at Juniata College to learn about his team’s experience with the LeanPath program over the past four years. Juniata College was one of the first Sodexo campus locations to launch the LeanPath program in 2010 as part of the initial pilot program, and continue to be pleased with the program and their results.

Site Snapshot:
  • 1,300 student on meal plans
  • 2 dining halls—both using the LeanPath System
  • Measuring pre- and post-consumer food waste
  • Also using a pulper and composting to divert unavoidable food waste from the landfill

Tell us a little bit about your background and role at Juniata.

“I’ve been there for 3 years in October. LeanPath was here before I got here. I came from a background working in restaurants and hotels – this was my first campus job and first exposure to campus dining.”

What has your waste data helped you to drive down food waste?

“The two big areas have been trim waste and overproduction. Trim waste is the easiest to control because people can see it. You spot someone cutting too much off of a zucchini and you train them on better knife skills. Overproduction is more challenging—that’s where the dashboard really comes into play. You can see which meals and stations the overproduction is coming from. You can spot patterns and go to the station to get the real story on what’s happening. That becomes a ‘teachable moment.’”

What changes have you seen in your team culture?

“This [program] provides a bridge between their work life and their home life. I ask them ‘would you throw this away at home?’ and they always say ‘no.’ It’s the same thing here. It’s not just the money factor, it’s the wasted food and all of the resources, gas and fossil fuels it took to get it here.”

What have your results been?

“Since we started in the program in 2010, our pre-consumer waste levels are down 64%. You don’t know what you’re wasting until you see those numbers. It’s a great tool. The proof is right there—in the first year, you can see how much you save. On top of the money savings, there’s a huge environmental benefit. If we can be a part of a solution to make the [food waste] issue better, I definitely want to be a part of that.”

Some people might think when you reach low waste levels, you don’t need a monitoring system anymore. What do you think?

“Absolutely not. There’s an element of accountability. This keeps it top of mind. If you’re not thinking about waste, you can let your other initiatives take precedence. Once a system is in place, it needs to stay in place.”

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Topics: Customer Profiles, Food Waste Prevention Newsletter

Food is “Too Good for the Bin” in Germany

Posted by Laurie Horning, Business Development Associate on Aug 10, 2014 // 12:0 AM

* This post is part of an ongoing series, "Food Waste Around the Globe." To see all related posts, click here.

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Topics: Food Waste Around the Globe

Minimizing Plate Waste

Posted by Andrew Shakman, Co-Founder & CEO on Jul 29, 2014 // 11:15 AM

Although food waste all looks the same by the time it reaches a compost or waste bin, there are actually two types: pre-consumer waste (such as overproduction, spoilage and trimmings) and post-consumer waste (the food left on guests’ plates after a meal). Most operators have focused more management energy on addressing pre-consumer waste because it’s directly within their control.

This raises an important question: “Who has the ability and responsibility to reduce all that post-consumer food waste?” For many years I believed accountability rested largely with the guest. After all, each consumer decides what to order and elects what to eat (or not eat). I also felt empathy for foodservice operators. They certainly noticed the plate waste but they couldn’t just reduce portion sizes without risking customer disappointment and revenue loss, particularly in a competitive industry where other establishments demonstrate greater value to customers by offering even larger portions.

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Topics: Food Waste Musings, Food Waste Prevention Newsletter

[Video Profile] Rex Smith of SUNY Oneonta

Posted by Janet Haugan, Director of Marketing on Jul 29, 2014 // 11:13 AM

We recently caught up with Rex Smith, Production Manager for Sodexo Dining at the State University of New York (SUNY) Oneonta, to talk about his team's past, present, and future with LeanPath. Hear about why they began the program, what implementation was like, and what results they've seen so far using the LeanPath system.

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Topics: Customer Profiles, Video, Food Waste Prevention Newsletter

Becoming the Conscious Cook: Australia's Food Waste Reduction Initiatives

Posted by Laurie Horning, Business Development Associate on Jul 10, 2014 // 02:39 AM

* This post is part of an ongoing series, "Food Waste Around the Globe." To see all related posts, click here.

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Topics: Food Waste Around the Globe

Antigaspi: The National Campaign to Reduce Food Waste in France

Posted by Laurie Horning, Business Development Associate on Jun 26, 2014 // 03:28 AM

* This post is part of an ongoing series, "Food Waste Around the Globe." To see all related posts, click here.

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Topics: Food Waste Around the Globe

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