A recent study on awareness and attitudes around food waste in the United States has yielded some interesting findings. The study, conducted by Danyi Qi and Brian Roe of Ohio State University, shows that while awareness around the food waste crisis is growing, there is a significant discrepancy among how people perceive their role in fighting food waste. The survey focuses on consumer attitudes of household food waste, but unsurprisingly, many of the findings parallel similar issues we encounter in the commercial foodservice industry. What the study makes clear is that changing individuals’ behavior on a large scale is the key to widespread and sustainable food waste reduction.
One of our core beliefs at LeanPath is that we manage what we measure. It’s at the heart of our mission of making food waste prevention easy: measurement leads to understanding which leads to prevention. When LeanPath was founded in 2004, the concept of measuring food waste was largely a foreign one in many kitchens—that’s why we’re especially excited that last month, the Food Loss & Waste Protocol launched the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting (FLW) Standard, a first-of-its-kind framework designed to help organizations, nations, regions and other entities around the world report on food loss and waste.
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.