We were disappointed by news this month that successive government budget cuts are forcing WRAP -- the UK’s Waste Resources Action Programme, a leader in the nation’s food waste prevention efforts – to cut 15 percent of its workforce. These cuts will result in a loss of roughly 25 positions and will force the organization to scale back its important work.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign installed LeanPath scales in its eight dining halls and catering facility in 2013. Even though it was five years ago, Assistant Director of Dining Thurman Etchison still remembers the surprise of those first few weeks.
“The thing that shocked me the most was the dramatic decrease in food waste we saw from the start,” he says. “Over a month’s time, we dropped probably six to seven thousand pounds a week.”
It’s like any other priority in the kitchen: if chefs and managers don’t reinforce the message that food waste prevention matters, staff can easily lose focus. Your daily or weekly pre-shift meetings are one of the best opportunities to reinforce your priorities. Here are a few ways to keep your team focused on food waste.
At LeanPath, we often say that food waste matters – after all, our mission is to end avoidable food waste. So we believe it, and we act accordingly.
We’ve all been to a catered event, whether it was a buffet or a plated meal, a business luncheon or a wedding reception, a breakfast line brimming with scrambled eggs and bacon or a break table piled high with pastries. But I’ll bet you’ve never been to a catered event that ran out of food.
Overproduction is a given for most caterers, because if they run out of food, there’s not a kitchen in the back to prep anything more. And more than with onsite dining, the host of a catered event carries more responsibility for their guests’ happiness, and a caterer doesn’t want them to be unhappy. In my years as a chef, I’ve seen events that have half of the food ordered -- or more -- go uneaten.
This type of food waste is the inconvenient truth of running and organizing a catering event. All the chefs, planners and attendees know it’s happening, nobody likes it, but we struggle with how to fix the problem.