Category Archives: Food service and restaurants

Webinar: How to Reduce Wasted Food: EPA’s Food Waste Reduction Tools for Food Services & Restaurants

May 15, 2014, noon-1:30 pm CDT
Register at

The Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment provides step-by-step instructions to conducting a one-time assessment of the food waste thrown in garbage bins. This instructional outreach material is useful for facilities new to food audits and for those who wish to better understand their current food waste management practices.

The toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging: A Guide for Food Services and Restaurants is designed to help food service establishments save money and reduce their environmental impact with suggested strategies, templates and case studies. Users first track the amount, type of, and reason for wasted food and packaging on paper. Entering the data into the Excel tool automatically creates graphs to help identify patterns and opportunities to reduce waste. The accompanying PDF guide provides intervention strategies and background information.

These free, new resources can be found at


Julie Schilf is an Environmental Scientist with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office where she is the regional coordinator for EPA’s WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge programs.  She will provide a summary of the instructional outreach materials on Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment.

Amanda Hong is a graduate fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 office working in Sustainable Materials Management and Pollution Prevention. She will provide a detailed overview of how to use the toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging.


Food waste in restaurants: out of home, out of mind?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

We’re in a different frame of mind when we eat out, but are we underestimating the impact of our leftovers?


Chipotle Identifies Climate Change As a Risk, Warns It May Stop Serving Guacamole

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Chipotle’s recent SEC filing caused quite a stir. Specifically, one of the risks stated in that filing caused a stir.

The company cited “changes associated with global climate change” as having a potential “significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients.” Due to cost increases, Chipotle “may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas.” However, Chipotle spokesperson, Chris Arnold downplays that specific example. “It’s routine financial disclosure,” Arnold told Think Progress. “Nothing more than that.”

Chipotle may or may not have to suspend serving such staples of its menu as guacamole and salsas. However, chances are great that climate change will have an effect on the fast food chain. The filing also mentioned that weather events “such as freezes or drought” could lead to temporary price increases on certain ingredients. The filing goes on to mention drought. “For instance, two years of drought conditions in parts of the U.S. have resulted in significant increases in beef prices during late 2013 and early 2014.”


Composting 101

Read the full post from the National Park Service Commercial Services.

As more businesses seek opportunities to lower their carbon footprints, it is often the food and beverage departments that lead the charge. At parks around the country, concessioners are switching to biodegradable and compostable service-ware and utensils, composting their food waste, and promoting more recycling. Food and beverage operations are generally the number one contributor to waste in parks, which means there is ample opportunity for concessioners to make strides in this area.

Organic materials are among the highest volume of waste collected at park events.i Compost is organic material that aids in growing plants. Food waste and yard trimmings are common inputs for creating compost — both of which are found frequently in parks and at concession locations. There are many benefits to composting. Concessioners can compost food scraps or vegetation waste to reduce their output to landfills. Other benefits of composting include:

  • Reduction or elimination of the need for chemical fertilizers;
  • Cost-effective means of remediating soil;
  • Avoidance of methane formation in landfills;
  • Marketable commodity. Concessioners can supply their compost to those who need it (gardens, local farmers, etc.).

New Refrigeration Efficiency Standards To Take a Bite out of Supermarket and Restaurant Energy Costs

Read the full post from ACEEE.

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule for strong new efficiency standards today that will take a big bite out of the energy consumption of the refrigerators and freezers used in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. The significant reductions in energy use that we’ll see with the new standards are made possible by the availability of technologies including LED lighting and occupancy sensors, high-performance glass doors, and high-efficiency motors, which all provide big efficiency gains.


Engineering An End To Food Waste With Smarter Logistics For Our Leftovers

Read the full story in Fast Company.

This startup is working out the most efficient way possible to pickup leftover food from restaurants and deliver it to charities in need. It’s like Fresh Direct for unused food.


McDonald’s, White Castle to EPA: Cut Corn Ethanol Mandate

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The National Council of Chain Restaurants has urged the EPA to further reduce the levels of corn ethanol mandated under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In response to concerns about the RFS, the EPA last year proposed cutting corn ethanol levels for 2014 to 13.01 billion gallons from 13.8 billion gallons. NCCR members, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s Pizza, White Castle Food supply chain stakeholders, say the corn quota is still too high.

In comments submitted to the EPA, the NCCR says the ethanol policy distorts agriculture and commodity markets, artificially inflates the price of corn, and sharply raises food costs and prices for restaurant owners, operators, franchisees, small business owners and the general dining public.

The American Frozen Food Institute has also warned that EPA that because corn and soybeans are critical ingredients in a range of frozen foods, higher biofuel targets will raise cost and prices for food makers and shoppers.


Making food waste visceral, on a grand scale

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

Chances are, when you were a child you never dreamed of making it onto the 20 Most Influential list in Foodservice Director magazine. Andrew Shakman never did, either, but his arrival on that 2012 ranking was an acknowledgement from the industry that his efforts to curb food waste — through his 10-year-old company LeanPath in Portland, Ore. — have gained traction.

The statistics about the problem that Shakman seeks to address are staggering: globally, one-third of all food is wasted. The United States alone trashes 40 percent of what it could consume: in fact food waste is the single biggest component of landfills. No single approach will solve the crisis. If you think “crisis” is hyperbole, consider the United Nations finding that the environmental impact of the 1.3 billion tons of food that goes to waste around the world each year makes the industry the third largest carbon dioxide emitter, after China and the United States. But Shakman has found a way to use information technology to change the way that foodservice workers think about waste.

LeanPath’s core offering, LeanPath 360, is a touchscreen tablet linked to a scale and camera unit. Before tossing food into the trash, the system requires food service workers to place the items to be discarded onto the scale, log into the application, select the items being trashed and note the reason they are being thrown out — such as overproduction, spoilage, expiration, or food trim techniques. The camera snaps an image of the items and sends it, along with the corresponding data, to a cloud-based database. Think of it as Facebook for rejected food.


Can companies cut food waste and feed the world?

Read the full post in the SmartBlog for Food & Beverage.

Two hot topics in the food world grew even hotter last  year, converging as companies across the globe sought better solutions to stem the tide of food waste and get more food to the people who need it.

In the U.S., Americans toss more than 40 million tons of food waste on the landfills every year, with much of it coming from supermarkets and restaurants that throw away food that’s still good but past its sell-by date. Somewhere between 25% and 40% of the food produced in the United States will never be eaten, according to data from the Food Waste Reduction Alliance.

Meanwhile, 50 million Americans, including about 16 million children, suffer from food insecurity, according to the Agriculture Department. Children go hungry as tons of edible food gets sent to the dump — it’s a problem supermarket retailers and restaurant chains are taking aim at in greater numbers.


Sustainability, Local Sourcing Top Restaurant Trends

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Locally sourced food, sustainability and waste reduction will be among the top restaurant trends this year, according to a survey of about 1,300 US chefs.

The National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot in 2014 survey ranks locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce and environmental sustainability as the no. 1, no. 2 and no. 3 trends, respectively, that will be on restaurant menus in 2014.

Hyper-local sourcing, such as restaurant gardens, comes in at no. 6, while sustainable seafood (no. 9) and nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking (no. 11) — reducing food waste by using the entire animal or plant — also made the top 20 list.


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