What is restaurant food waste?
Every day, restaurants across America toss out tons of perfectly good food that they can't acquire at a fair price. This amounts to what's known as restaurant food waste. In other words, these establishments are throwing out food that could have been sold to others and used to help finance the running of the business. While many of these foods end up in landfills, others are donated to local food banks and charity organizations. Therefore, this is a huge issue that needs to be addressed.
5 Creative Ways in Which America Can Reduce Restaurant Food Waste
What is restaurant food waste?
Restaurant food waste consists of all the uneaten food that is thrown away by restaurants. This can include food that is leftover on plates, as well as food that is spoiled or otherwise not fit for consumption. In many cases, this wasted food ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and emits greenhouse gases.
The problem of food waste has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. According to a report from the National Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away approximately one pound of food per person per day, and a large portion of this waste comes from restaurants. There are a number of reasons for this increase in restaurant food waste, including portion sizes that are too large, poor planning by chefs and kitchen staff, and customers who may not eat everything on their plate.
There are a number of initiatives that focus on reducing food wastage. One such initiative is the "Ugly Food Movement," which encourages restaurants to serve less-than-perfect looking fruits and vegetables instead of discarding them. Other programs seek to educate restaurateurs about ways to reduce their food waste, such as using smaller plates or offering customers the option to take home leftovers, as well as food donation programs.
How much of restaurant food waste is thrown away by restaurants?
As much as 40% of restaurant food is never eaten and ends up in the trash, according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. That's enough to feed 4 million Americans every year.
The NRDC's study, "Wasted- How America Is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill," focuses on three major parts of the U.S. food system- agriculture, grocery stores, and restaurants, to find where most food waste occurs. The findings are eye-opening- In 2010, the United States threw away 133 billion pounds of food valued at $161 billion. Of that wasted food, restaurants accounted for 11 percent, or 14.3 billion pounds worth an estimated $18 billion dollars. Much of this food waste is due to portion sizes that have increased dramatically over the past few decades.
America is throwing away 40% of its restaurant food every day
Here are 5 ways in which America can reduce restaurant food waste
From where is the restaurant food waste coming from?
The sources of restaurant food waste are many and varied. They can include everything from uneaten food on customers' plates to spoiled or damaged ingredients that never make it into a dish. Other common sources of restaurant food waste include food scraps and trimmings, such as vegetable peelings, and expired or unused foods.
Why do restaurants throw away food and create food waste?
The main reason restaurants throw away food is because it has gone bad and is no longer edible. Other reasons include when plates of food are sent back by customers or if the restaurant cooks too much food and there are leftovers. While some restaurants have food donation programs, most of the food produced ends up in the trash.
One other major factor that contributes to restaurants' wasting food is that they order too much from suppliers. This is often due to uncertainty about how popular a certain dish will be or because they want to avoid running out of ingredients. As a result, restaurants end up with extra inventory that expires before it can be used, leading to wasted food.
Another big contributor to food waste in the restaurant industry is portion size. Often times, customers do not finish their meals and leave behind perfectly good food. In addition, many people tend to over order when they dine out, leading to the wastage of the extra amount of food.
Ways in which restaurants can reduce food waste
There are many ways in which restaurants can reduce food waste. A zero waste approach involves careful planning and preparation of meals, proper Food Storage as well as serving smaller portions to customers or offering them the option to take home leftovers, among others. Restaurants can also donate unsold food to local food banks or compost it. Let's discuss some of these strategies for reducing food waste in greater detail.
The amount of food wasted in restaurants is a massive problem, and it’s one that needs to be tackled
There are so many ways in which America can reduce restaurant food waste - from donating leftovers to using fresh produce to make meals instead of buying them
1. Buy ingredients with aesthetic imperfections
Some people might shy away from fruits and veggies with blemishes or discoloration, but you should know that these imperfections don't affect the taste or Food Safety. In fact, many times, foods with aesthetic imperfections are just as delicious as their perfect-looking counterparts. Plus, buying fruits and veggies with cosmetic defects helps reduce food waste. So next time you're at the grocery store, don't be afraid to pick up those slightly bruised apples or misshapen carrots!
2. Ask for preference and select portion sizes
One way to make portion sizes healthier is by asking your diners what they prefer. This allows you to give them a smaller amount of food if they request it, which can help to avoid waste and ensure that everyone gets an ideal serving size. Additionally, letting customers choose their own portion sizes gives them more control over their intake, promoting a better dining experience overall.
3. Repurpose multi use ingredients
One way to reduce your Food Waste is to get creative with ingredients that can be used in multiple ways. For example, if you have leftover cooked rice, you could use it as a base for a fried rice dish, add it to soup or stew, or create a rice pudding. Or, if you have an overripe banana, you could make banana bread, smoothies, or ice cream. Be creative and see what other dishes you can come up with that will help reduce your Food Waste!
4. Discount pricing
Discount pricing is one of the oldest and most commonly used marketing strategies in the food industry. Restaurants and grocery stores can offer lower prices to customers who purchase products that are nearing their expiration date or are about to go bad. This is a great way to not only manage food loss, but also ensure better inventory management. Discounts can be offered through coupons, loyalty programs, or special promotions.
Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. While the traditional method of composting can take months or even years, there are now many ways to speed up the process so that you can enjoy the benefits of your compost much sooner. Whether you use a simple backyard bin or an industrial-sized tumbler, with a little effort and patience, you can turn your restaurant food waste into black gold!
America is wasting a lot of food
There are many ways to reduce food waste in America, but here are 5 creative ways that people can make a difference today