Imagine going to the supermarket and purchasing 12 large T-bone steaks, returning home and dumping those steaks right into the trash. Whether we are aware of this or not, the given situation occurs very frequently. Albeit we are not purchasing food and immediately throwing it away, we do spend a lot of money on goods that end up in the trash eventually.
The biggest perpetrator of this purchase-to-dump method is the food industry. At any point in the food’s lifecycle, the idea that it can be deemed trash is forever looming and once discarded or determined to be unfit is often never given another thought.
The problem is that there is very little attention given to the food once it is labeled as trash. Food that is dumped into the trash is either defined as pre-consumer or post-consumer food waste. Pre-consumer waste includes trim waste, spoiled, over-produced over-ordered or incorrectly prepared food. The largest portion of pre-consumer waste is a result of over-ordering as a result of an inefficient purchasing process. On average, 4-10 percent of all purchased food finds its home in the trash before it even has the chance to reach a table. The lucky ones, who do make it to the table, however, often rejoin their friends later on in the process, in the form of post-consumer waste. Post –consumer waste is most often than not, customers who have not finished their meals which may mean the portion size is too large. If a customer opts for the ‘doggy bag’, the food on their plate ends up in – you guessed it – the trash in their homes.
This food waste also presents a financial quandary, as money is literally going into the garbage. In fact, all of this food waste is costing the food business $23 billion in profit – a number that could definitely make a difference in restaurants’ finances.
So how can restaurants reduce their waste?
Understanding where the food waste is coming from is the key to reducing the waste. By monitoring waste restaurants have the opportunity to reduce their pre-consumer waste flow quickly and efficiently. With an improved purchasing process, preparing less food, properly training workers, and creating smaller portions, savings is achievable.
In order to prevent the waste you need to capture the data. Without the data, those 12 steaks will never stand a chance.