As the food waste movement continues to grow, more and more people around the world understand just how pressing the issue of wasted food is. From consumers, to foodservice managers, to chefs and beyond, everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste and loss along the supply chain.
One of the drivers of food waste that we often highlight in LeanPath educational sessions is confusion around date labels. This can sometimes be the case in foodservice—where employees may be required to throw out products in bulk once they have reached a certain date—and often at home, where many consumers don't think twice about pouring a gallon of still-good milk down the drain if they see a date on it that has passed.
Foodservice operations are often high-intensity, high-pressure environments. There are quotas to meet, quality to uphold, and regulations to comply with. And typically, food waste to contend with—up to 10% of all food purchased goes to waste in the kitchen in many foodservice operations.
Just last month the Norwegian University of Science and Technology released a study that compared the impact of collecting food waste to convert it to biogas (recycling) versus cutting food waste (prevention). A growing number of waste management plants in both the United States and Europe are processing food waste into biogas, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions when it replaces fossil fuels. But is this process a good long-term solution for the environment?
Editor's Note: The following is a guest article by Steven M. Finn, Managing Director of ResponsEcology, a sustainability and change management consulting firm helping organizations to reduce waste and drive transformational culture change with triple bottom line impact.
Last week, while headed to a conference on food security in China, I experienced one of those moments that are so powerful to those of us involved in reducing food waste — and that in my case seem to occur with increasing frequency.