Minimizing food waste is commonly on the forefront of a food businesses agenda. Unfortunately, in restaurants there is no way to predict exactly how much of each ingredient to order. On the one hand, the business wants to have lower food costs. On the other hand, losing out on business because the business ran out of a certain ingredient, is unfortunate as well. Recent studies suggest that about 50% of edible food goes to waste! Though the studies include farms, households, and businesses, the numbers are still staggering. With warning of the looming food shortage, it is important for all sectors to minimize food waste.
Reality TV takes on Food Waste
Though reality television is usually aimed at households, “Dumpster Diver TV” can provide cost saving ideas, or at least inspiration, to businesses as well. The show is run by Australian artist-activists, who were shocked that, even with Australia’s advanced composting opportunities, about 105000 tons of food is wasted there each year. The show challenges “Dumpster Divers” to go through trash to find all types on ingredients. Tobias Judmaiers, a food blogger and cooking instructor, then cooks it into a dish and serves it to people passing by. Though the sanitation of such dishes is extremely questionable, the show makes a statement and proves the potential of many of the ingredients that are usually thrown away.
Recycling certain items can help maximize profits by using ingredients that have already met their purpose. In the hangover period of the holiday season, when the festive feeling is still valid, using remnants of the holiday season can be a great way to reduce waste in general, not just food waste. Leftover candy canes can be used to garnish desserts or add flavor to alcohol by allowing them to sit in alcohol for a few weeks in a clean beverage dispenser or jar. Spruce from a Christmas tree can be turned into spruce beer. Citron, also known as etrog, traditional for the Jewish holiday, sukkot, can be made into jam and sorbet.
Food businesses with their own gardens may consider starting a compost bin. Waste materials, such as kitchen waste, newspapers, leaves, grass, and wood products, can be placed in a closed bin with some water and soil, and allowed to sit, while being exposed to an air source. The resultant mixture is a great fertilizer supplement and is a fantastic way to maximize profits by putting food waste to use.
What to do About Food Waste
Reducing restaurant food waste is beneficial to everyone. Restaurants are able to maximize profits, and, in the world view, less food wasted mean more food to go around. Many catering companies have leftover food after events. This food is usually not fit for reusing at future events, but there are plenty of organizations that take food donations and distribute them to hungry citizens. Businesses can find such organizations by their location, by searching the internet. Though resolving to reduce all waste is too ambitious, reading, watching, or hearing examples of how businesses or ordinary people are creatively reusing ingredients, is a great way to get inspiration and ideas on how to minimize food waste.