The challenges faced by the foodservice industry in 2021–rising food and labor costs and disrupted supply chains–put a fine point on the need to prevent food waste and its financial burden. The growing body of evidence connecting food waste and climate change created even more urgency for foodservice organizations.
Working with those organizations in over 40 countries, Leanpath and its partners prevented 14 million pounds of food from going to waste, bringing the total impact since 2004–when Leanpath introduced food waste prevention solutions–to 90 million pounds.
That equates to 75 million meals kept in the food system for those who need them. And over 284 thousand metric tons of CO2 kept out of our skies.
Here are a few other highlights from the year:
Continued innovation to meet the industry’s needs
We kicked off 2021 with the introduction of the 360-AI, our flagship food waste tracker equipped with artificial intelligence to automatically identify foods, saving kitchens time and increasing accuracy. Our "above the bin" functionality ensures that operators can still maximize the value of excess food resources after they are auto-classified. Our 360 Bench Scale, which has always enabled food waste photography, is the industry-leading solution for food waste prevention. Leanpath leverages our robust database of food waste images from the 360 to make food waste classification fast.
We also introduced the new Donation Dashboard. Preventing food waste—actually stopping it from being created in the first place—is the most financially and environmentally effective solution available to foodservice organizations. But when edible excess food still occurs and can’t be repurposed internally, donation is the next best thing. Now you can track and report on your donations with ease and efficiency.
The dashboard is a streamlined view of a kitchen’s donation data, displaying key information about the operation’s excess food generation and tax benefits.
Highlighting success with our global clients
Leanpath is proud to work with the foodservice industry’s largest brands, and we were able to spotlight some of their recent success in food waste prevention.
Google led the year with a sustainability report announcing it has prevented 9.2 million pounds of food waste since 2014, through our work together.
Sodexo, which is deploying Leanpath at thousands of sites globally, highlighted success throughout the year. It prevented 280 tonnes of food waste in the UK. It brought food waste prevention technology to sites in Thailand. And it spotlighted the work its team at Vidant Medical Center in North Carolina are doing, among 1,200 sites globally.
We dug deep into the food waste prevention work at two U.S.-based Aramark sites. At the University of Rochester, the foodservice program is operated by Aramark partner Harvest Table Culinary Group. Senior Executive Chef Tony Pignagrande and his team have cut food waste 46 percent.
Meanwhile, Aramark Regional Executive Chef Damon Mangano, who oversees the food and nutrition program at a large Midwestern U.S. healthcare system, reported a 50 percent reduction in food waste across the system.
Industry resources and public outreach
We continued our work in 2021 offering resources for the industry to better understand food waste and how to prevent it, as well as public outreach to educate on the larger crisis of food waste.
Our most popular webinar of the year was 9 Reasons Why: The Urgency of Food Waste Prevention, which outlined the financial, environmental and social need for increased focus on food waste. Our e-book, Why Food Waste Prevention Should be Your Top Sustainability Initiative reviewed the issues as well.
We also created a webinar and e-book looking at the industry’s ongoing labor crunch. Our Executive Chef Robb White outlined common tactics kitchens will use to work through labor shortages and how those tactics can inadvertently lead to increased food waste. He offered guidance on how to avoid those pitfalls.
Meanwhile, our CEO Andrew Shakman worked with the BBC to understand food waste and helped the International Food Waste Coalition explain why food waste prevention can sometimes be slow to adopt in busy foodservice kitchens.
And we continued to contribute our technology and expertise to accelerate food system change with leading organizations such as WRAP, ReFED, and DC Central Kitchen, in support of our B Corp status and through our 12.3 Initiative.
It was another busy year, full of challenges and successes. Here’s to 2022 and a continued focus on the benefits of preventing food waste.