The Efficient Kitchen: How to Get a Handle on Food Waste

Food, food everywhere and not a beet to eat. That’s what happens when food ultimately ends up in the trash because there was too much of it or it was going to go bad before it could be sold. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated in 2010 that food waste amounted to a whopping 30 to 40 percent of the total food supply. Or put differently: a staggering 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food dumped in landfills. It had gotten so bad that the USDA decided in 2015 to finally reduce food waste by setting America’s first-ever national food loss and waste goal, a 50-percent reduction by 2030.

To meet the objective, everyone has to do his (or her) share: households, schools, offices, but especially, the restaurant community.  But how to prevent and reduce food waste? Here are four tips to keep in mind:

  1. Shop like a pro. Professional restaurateurs do it and so should you.  Buy only what you can consume or what you can store. That entails knowing how much you normally consume over a given period (say, a week), how much you can store given the capacity of your present equipment (the freezer, for example), and how long you can store what you bought before it spoils (think expiry and sell-by dates). If you can do the math for what goes in and what goes out over a specific period, then with this you can get as close as possible to efficient order quantities.
  2. FIFO. Talking about what goes in and what goes out, it’s—all together now—Fifo, fifo, it’s off the fridge you go. First in first out: the first food items to go into storage should be the first to go out. It’s a simple rule that’s easy to break in the hubbub of a busy restaurant operation or a hurly-burly household kitchen. Food items that are out of sight can remain out of sight for a long time and well past their expiration dates. So, FIFO. Receiving dates help too.
  3. Serve like the Army. That is, like the Salvation Army. Measure out realistic portion sizes. Sadly, this rule of thumb has been thumbed down across America’s dining tables, no thanks to the big-is-better culture of the fast-food chains (and many restaurants too!). Serve portions not disproportions. It’ll be good for the health, for the wallet, and for the environment.
  4. Apples and oranges. Many fruits such as bananas, apples, and tomatoes naturally exude ethylene, a gas that quickens ripening. That’s really good when the fruits are still hanging from a branch but not so good when they’re all together in storage—the fruits slide from ripe to rotten rather quickly.  To stem accelerated ripening and prevent waste, follow this United States Environmental Protection Agency recommendation:  store apples, bananas, and also tomatoes separately, and store fruits and vegetables in different containers.

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The post The Efficient Kitchen: How to Get a Handle on Food Waste appeared first on Learn2Serve Blog.

Source: TABC Blog by Learn 2 Serve

michelle roebuck

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