- Sonya Cragg from Countrystyle Recycling on how food and drink businesses can avoid food waste
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Even today, food wastage is a big issue. Large food chains and supermarkets coming under fire as vast quantities of edible food is thrown away every day. Slowly, a few of the big players are introducing policies to reduce the amount thrown away and re-routing it to better causes. But for smaller businesses, what can be done to minimise food waste to ensure it goes into recycling and not into the landfill?
Stocking and storage
In some cases, it may be better to have too much than too little, but in food service terms, this can equal a lot of waste. Re-evaluate your inventory and the way it is stocked/stored, monitor the turnaround and establish where efficiencies can be made. Adhere to the same First In – First Out rule that supermarkets follow and ensure that the food approaching the best before dates are used first. Consider if there are any ingredients that could be stocked in a more efficient way. For example, foods that can be kept frozen and used when required. Some meals mature in flavour and benefit from being batch cooked and frozen instead of freshly prepared each time.
Make sure everyone takes it seriously when you take a fresh look at minimising waste. It can be easy, especially in the workplace, to take the easy way, but this is usually the most wasteful way. Assign leadership of waste management to a person who understands its importance. As the key driver to efficient waste management, ensure they can monitor stock coming and going, its preparation and how it is disposed of by employees. Their diligence should cover everything from stock orders to portion sizes and popularity of dishes, in order to get the clearest insight into stock management. Someone focusing on waste management as their sole or primary focus can really make the difference in a workplace.
In an effort to tackle food wastage, there are organisations and charities that work hard to get the most use out of what is on offer. Shops, restaurants and other businesses can donate leftovers to organisations, who can prepare them for hot meals for those in need, and serve them at community projects and kitchens. This way food wastage is minimised and vulnerable people get the support and nourishment they need. After putting measures in place for minimising food waste, this is a great way to finally dispose of whatever is left and make sure it goes to good cause.
As more people get on-board with minimising food wastage, there are more resources than ever to not only reach this goal but to make a difference in society. After all of these measures have been exercised, there are companies that specialise in recycling and responsibly disposing of leftovers that cannot be put to any other use. By the time such experts are called in, there will be a significantly lower level of leftovers if other measures are taken to reduce wastage proactively.
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