Americans throw away approximately 25 percent more trash during the holiday season than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage and uneaten stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey dinners, and pies decaying in landfills while 10.5 percent of US households are food insecure. Instead of helping fill the stomachs of those in need, the uneaten food rots in the landfill and becomes methane, a greenhouse gas that is 87 times worse than carbon dioxide.
“Over 70 billion pounds of food waste reaches our landfills every year, contributing to methane emissions and wasting energy and resources across the food supply chain,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This holiday season, we must all do our part to help people and the environment by preparing only what we need, cutting down our food waste, and sharing or donating what we can to feed others.”
Businesses can minimize their holiday food waste through strategic planning and participating in food rescue and waste diversion programs.
Reduce the menu
A tell tale sign of a great restaurant or commercial kitchen is a small, strategic menu. A smaller menu allows the business to focus on the quality, rather than the quantity of, dishes. Strategic menus will incorporate dishes that can share ingredients. This prevents food waste through simplified preparation that maximizes ingredients with recipes.
Businesses can use data to predict seasonal demand and prepare menu, supplies, and inventory as needed. If you have a system that can audit food waste, it can most likely collect and store historical data on how much waste you’re generating. Some programs, such as the LFC Cloud, allow you to track the type of waste as you throw it away and present it in easy to read graphs and reports. These data systems and reports can be helpful in determining yearly and seasonal trends on demand for food.
Food rescue and diversion strategies
If there is excess food, businesses can:
- Work with Local Food Banks to redistribute food that has not yet expired
- Collaborate with local soup kitchens to utilize expired by date food that is still good for consumption
- Create promotional pricing on products to quickly move and reduce excess inventory
By reducing food waste in the landfill, we not only reduce our carbon footprint and help save the environment. We are able to redistribute food to those in need and conserve the energy and resources taken to grow, manufacture, transport, package, and sell the products. Contact Power Knot now to learn how you can reduce holiday food waste with data analytics.