As foodservice operations reopen from COVID-19 shutdowns, it is widely anticipated that service volumes will be reduced at the onset and increase slowly over months. While it may be assumed that less traffic leads to less food waste, a new Leanpath analysis shows just the opposite: on average, low volumes actually lead to higher levels of food waste relative to food purchases.
Swedish is the largest non-profit healthcare provider in the Puget Sound, Washington, area. Six of its dispersed facilities utilize the Leanpath platform to prevent food waste. The healthcare foodservice operation at its First Hill campus is run by Corporate Executive Chef Zachary Schwab. First Hill typically has about 1,800 covers a day in patient services, with 600 meals a day retail and around 10 catered events. Schwab has overseen food waste reduction with Leanpath since 2007. That experience has led to the development of system-wide best practices and deep cuts in food waste: a 53 percent reduction in food waste by value and a 40 percent reduction by weight.
There are three new realities foodservice kitchens will face as they reopen that carry the risk of creating excessive amounts of food waste. In a Leanpath webinar entitled Reopen Strong, Leanpath CEO Andrew Shakman led a discussion with the Leanpath Culinary Council to explain these new realities and how to avoid the food waste lurking within them. Here is a summary of the discussion.
As economies slowly begin to reopen, the picture of what awaits foodservice is starting to come into focus. What we’re seeing are new challenges–but also significant opportunities–for food waste prevention.
Ten years ago the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, in Martinsburg, West Virginia, launched its Green Kitchen initiative, a precedent-setting sustainability program in the Veteran’s Administration. Food waste is a central focus, and working with Leanpath from the start, the foodservice team has prevented over 330,000 pounds of food from being wasted.