Are you eating that?

Are you eating that?
A worker picks the fruits and vegetables gone bad at the food gathering Centre in Columbia.

There is a lot of talk about pandemics, epidemics and crisis lately. The media and governments do an excellent job of hiding the “real” issues that threaten our existence. It seems we are at a tipping point of sorts, something has to change, and soon. Many of us ask ourselves, what can I do, I’m just one person. I can’t speak for you, but doing nothing and hoping the other guy will figure it out….isn’t the answer. I blog about hospitality related topics for the most part, what can we do? Plenty!

STATISTICS; FOOD WASTAGE

  • 40% of all landfill content comes from food waste
  • Currently only 3% of food waste is recycled
  • Food waste generates methane gas which is 20-25% more potent than CO2
  • About 20% of Canada’s methane emissions (a greenhouse gas that traps more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide) come from landfills
  • Canadians waste approximately 40% of perfectly edible food, which amounts to about $27 billion worth a year
  • The Hospitality industry accounts for 8% of all food waste in Canada (51% from Households, Everything starts at home! If you are careful with your own food waste, you will be more careful at work as well!)
  • Currently, less that 3% of the more than 30 million tons of organic waste produced annually gets recycled. For commercial food processors who deal with large quantities of food waste, the problem is multiplied.

A lot of people confuse the Hospitality industry with the Hotel Industry.

The hotel industry is just a part of the hospitality industry.

Tourism, Aviation, Restaurant and Food services, Casinos etc. come under the Hospitality Industry Umbrella.

Travel and Tourism alone contributed over 7.6 Trillion USD in 2016. The unofficial figure should have easily gone beyond $10 trillion in 2019 when other sub-industries are combined. Making “Hospitality”, the largest industry flat out in the world.

Today’s blog is about waste, and how we can do our part to manage, reduce and profit from a new way of thinking. The first thing we have to understand is how the food and beverage procurement process works. Restaurants, hotels or other similar properties use pretty much the same system, as follows;

In most kitchens, purchasing and ordering are done by the chef and sous-chefs, although in larger hotels there may be purchasing departments assigned this responsibility. Most kitchens will have a list of suppliers, contacts, delivery dates and schedules, and order sheets with par stock levels to make purchasing easier. For a special function or event, such as a banquet, it may also be necessary to determine the required supplies for that function alone. It all starts with the menu. As in previous posts, I stress the importance of sustainable, available, seasonal and ethical menu development. This movement is growing slowly, but it’s the direction we have to move in to save this planet. A well thought out and planned menu is the beginning of positive change. It also means changing how we look at purchasing, procurement, processing and delivery. We really have to unthink how we have been doing this. It wasn’t that long ago that we did things right…In my grandparents generation, there were no Sysco’s, Walmart’s or McDonalds, they survived. Plan your menu’s with thought given to what is local, in season and fresh. Not only will this bring quality to the table, the products locally sourced have better shelf life….there not on a plane, train or truck for a week before you get them. I don’t want to turn this into a blog about the broken food distribution system globally, I’ve already covered this in previous posts. I just want chefs and managers to consider some small changes that will have a positive “win:win” outcome. Here is a term I learned many years ago, while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY.

TPU; Total Product Utilization

This term is simple. basically we look at the products we use and have a plan in place that starts with sourcing, and ends with waste management. Have a look at the following infographic, for a better understanding.

CONCLUSION

Change is hard, but necessary. Start with a few small things, and add a little more as you go along. The reasons to adapt to this are positive in a multitude of ways. You will feel benefit financially, spiritually and personally. I should also mention some of the tools I use to implement the above ideas. By tools, I mean “technology”, there is so much out there to assist chefs and managers do a better job. I offer many of them on this site for a small membership fee. Here is a little freebie.

This is very useful when planning your purchasing, enjoy! Also follow me over the next few months on my latest chef consulting job at Sugar Hill Inn NL, Canada. Everyone that knows me, knows I’m a bit of a troublemaker, well I’m stirring the pot once again. Exciting things to come! Cheers, and happy Friday!