Use these 10 practical techniques to reduce wastage of food in catering industries.
The amount of food waste produced globally each year is more than enough to feed the nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world. Although we differentiate between food loss and food waste it is still a massive problem that needs to be resolved.
What is Food Loss?
Food loss occurs when food is discarded or decreases in quality during processing (i.e., before it hits supermarket shelves).
What is Food Waste?
Food waste, on the other hand, tends to be a major issue in so called “developed” countries such as the U.S, but also in UK and Europe. It refers to situations when food makes it to the end of the food supply chain (restaurants, office canteens, school canteens, university canteens, etc) but still doesn’t get consumed. Currently, one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted - globally. That’s about 1.3 billion tons of edible food wasted each year, and less than a quarter of this food could feed hungry people the world over.
We grow enough food on the planet to feed everyone although there are 870 million people who go hungry, 2.5 million of those are children. Worldwide we produce 27% more food than we did 50 years ago.
Unfortunately, mainly in the US, half of the food that is produced is wasted between the farm and the fork due to being discarded by the inefficiencies of the human managed food chain. Ramsay Todd can help companies and organisations reduce food waste by guiding them to be more efficient and therefore less wasteful.
Staying with my example of food waste in the US… nearly 8% of food is lost in production. The food industry loses 4%. Supermarkets lose 6%. Restaurants and catering trades are responsible for 15% of the food in landfills and households throw away approximately 25% of the food they buy. The cost of this food waste is approximately $165 billion a year.
Understanding Food Waste
Understanding food waste is obvious when it's explained well. This is where our catering consultancy expertise comes in. For instance, did you know that throwing away 1 gallon of milk is like throwing away 1000 gallons of water because it takes that much water to produce that much milk. A startling one quarter of the water used in irrigation is wasted on food that is thrown away.
10 Ways to Avoid and Reduce Food Waste
There are many practical ways to reduce food waste. Here are a few tips that can be used to reduce and avoid food waste in hospitality and food service industries such as restaurants, hotels, canteens and catering outlets. Not only will you be able to reduce food waste but also realise cost savings too.
- Keep portions consistent and use standard spoons and measures so that portion sizes don’t creep up.
- Offer different portion sizes for toddlers, children and lighter eaters
- Serve a standard portion of vegetables or side dishes – but offer a second helping if the customer wants more
- Encourage staff to help customers order the right amount and monitor plate waste to help identify opportunities for savings.
- Depending on your establishment, consider offering customers the option to take unfinished food home.
- Store food in the right places, i.e. know which foods you can store at room temperature and which foods must be stored in refrigerators
- Avoid over-stuffing fridges, freezers so you can see at a glance what is in your store
- Keep track of what you throw away
- Get professional food management and catering management help from our catering consultants to guide you and keep your organisations food waste down.