As a global community, we are affected by the COVID-19 crisis and the repercussions of the social and economic shutdown. Our team is working together to collectively share business strategies for coping with the challenges from the pandemic, recovering from it, and planning for the future beyond it. We acknowledge that the food supply chain has been severely impacted by this crisis, making it all the more important to be resourceful and conscientious with our food management.
The U.S. is one of the world's top food exporters, supported by a diverse agricultural sector and a workforce of over a million people. Every year, 40% of the food produced in the U.S. ends up in landfills, and 2% of U.S. energy production goes toward food that ends up in the trash. Improving the processes for handling consumer food waste is not just a matter of ethical importance during this challenging pandemic and beyond it; financial considerations should be taken into account as well. There are opportunities to recover and recycle food waste, but by far, the most significant impact is by preventing waste in the first place. We believe the approach to this issue takes a combination of head and heart, with solutions coming from both the "Preconsumer" and "Postconsumer" angles. To briefly summarize the two perspectives:
In the kitchen, there are many ways for the foodservice industry to better manage food waste, and as a result, improve their bottom line. Here are some preconsumer strategies to consider:
A strategic approach to reducing postconsumer waste can result in both a positive and conscientious meal experience. Below are a couple of tried and true examples for postconsumer food waste reduction:
Taking action to improve our food management processes will reduce food waste, helping to alleviate food insecurity, lower our carbon footprints, and potentially decrease pressure on the production front through better awareness of our consumption needs. As a financial benefit, improving food management and only buying what is needed saves money. That savings can go straight to the bottom line or can be used to fund other initiatives such as increasing local and sustainable purchases. Understandably, businesses that are interested in reducing food waste would have to consider their approach carefully, and our team is available for guidance as a strategic partner. Our first suggestion? Start small and choose one area of focus. Don't get hung up on perfection; instead, set a target and measure your progress. Then keep going.