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Campus Education Programs Alone Won’t Cut Waste At All-You-Can-Eat Buffets


According to a University of Illinois study, diners at all-you-can-eat buffet-style restaurants or university dining halls have little incentive to pile less food on their plate. The result? They tend to overindulge, but don’t necessarily consume all that they heap on their plates, and a lot of food is wasted. A food waste-reduction campaign might serve as a low-cost way to extol moderation at the buffet line. Unfortunately, however, such campaigns don’t seem to work. Consumer economist Brenna Ellison suggests that for greater waste reduction, education campaigns should be combined with environmental changes such as removing the flat-fee pricing structure or pre-portioning food items.

"Study: Impact of Food Waste Campaigns Muted, But Point Toward Right Direction", Phys.org, April 08, 2019

Community Refrigerators Reduce Food Waste While Helping To Feed The Needy

A British environmental charity is turning to community refrigerators set up in public spaces as a way to reduce food waste and foster more nutritious eating.  The refrigerators, set up in community centers and churches, for example, would give restaurants, supermarkets, home cooks, and others a place to drop off excess food as a donation and ensure it remains fresh. The food would then be picked up by people in need, free of charge. Hubbub, the charity installing the fridges, has placed  50 community refrigerators so far, and hopes to install another 50 across Britain by the end of 2020. On average, a community refrigerator site is visited by more than 200 people a month, though that number could climb to about 1,000 visitors for busier locations.

"'Community' refrigerators aim to freeze out food waste", Reuters, April 06, 2019

Smaller Portions At Eateries Might Help Solve The Food Waste Problem

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema says that in an era of global malnutrition – and, ironically, rampaging obesity – and burgeoning food waste, the nationwide restaurant practice of serving “dishes that practically call for building permits” is especially disturbing. For example, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse in Chicago serves full-size fruit pies cut into “a mere four slices;” a sandwich at the Smith in Washington, D.C., comes with what looks like four cups of French fries; and New York’s Bistro Pierre Lapin serves a cote de porc a la "shake & bake" that weighs in at about a pound. Doggie bags are not the answer to waste because they often get tossed out at home. Reversing this trend requires the cooperation of restaurants and patrons. Restaurants could offer smaller portions of a dish while letting diners order more of it and pay for the privilege. Lastly, diners faced with huge plates of unwanted food could "share, share, share" with dining companions.

"In an era of excessive food waste, a plea to restaurants: Cut down your portions; Sure, we can ", Washington Post Blogs , March 25, 2019

Chefs Can Play A Major Role In Boosting Nutrition, While Reducing Food Waste

A UN-sponsored symposium in Paris concluded that an increasing number of restaurant chefs worldwide are not only promoting food linked to territory and local culture, and the consumption of local, fresh food. They are also becoming increasingly involved in the global movement to reduce food waste, championing food waste reduction efforts in their own restaurants, as well as empowering local communities to fight food waste. A publication, "Chefs as agents of change," produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), highlights the role of chefs as advocates for healthy and culturally diversified diets.

"Chefs are Key Ingredient in Promoting Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy and Culturally Diversified Diets", Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, March 22, 2019

AI Technology In Restaurant Trash Bins Helps Reduce Food Waste

An AI-powered trash bin known as the Winnow Vision uses a camera and smart scales that tell chefs the types of food they are throwing away too often. The technology recognizes and keeps track of food items being disposed of, helping commercial kitchens reduce the amount they purchase. The camera takes still images of the food inside the bin and checks it against a global database to identify it. AI algorithms play it back to staff in real time to let them know the value of what's being binned. Winnow Vision bins have been tested in more than 75 kitchens in the U.K. belonging to Ikea and luxury real estate development group Emaar Hospitality Group. The average kitchen catering for a business requires between one and two Winnow Visions.

"Could an AI-powered ‘smart bin’ help reduce food waste at restaurants?", i-Independent Print Ltd, March 22, 2019

New App Helps Home Cooks Cut Food Waste During Food Prep

Save The Food, a campaign that has been working for years to reduce household food waste, has introduced a free app called Meal Prep Mate that provides valuable storing, cooking, and portioning advice. At a time when 40 percent of food sold in the U.S. for human consumption – $218 billion worth – never gets eaten, people who cook meals at home need a way to save time and keep healthy eating on track while reducing food waste. Using Meal Prep Mate, home cooks can make their own customized meal prep plan or choose an existing one. They input the number of people eating and the number of days they're prepping for. The app will provide a tailored shopping list, pre-designed recipes, and accurate portioning for every meal.

"New app helps you avoid food waste while prepping meals", Treehugger, March 19, 2019

Premium Gin In U.K. Is Made From Upcycled Surplus Table Grapes

HYKE premium gin, made from unsold table grapes, is now available at 300 Tesco stores in the U.K. as part of the grocery chain’s commitment to reducing food waste. The grape-based gin was developed through a partnership involving major British fruit supplier Richard Hochfeld Ltd and craft spirits distiller Foxhole Spirits. They are upcycling an estimated 166 million surplus table grapes to make the beverage, which debuts at a time of burgeoning gin popularity in the U.K.: gin sales are at a 50-year high and demand for premium gin at Tesco was up by nearly 90 percent in 2018. Hochfeld says it loses the equivalent of 1.4 million baskets of table grapes in the packing process. HYKE is made with those surplus grapes blended with botanicals from Africa and South America.

"First ever gin made from surplus table grapes to launch across U.K.", Tesco PLC, March 14, 2019

Singapore Airline Caterer Invests In Technology That Reduces Flight Food Waste

Hoping to cut the number of extra meals that end up in the trash after every flight, Singapore-based airline caterer Sats has invested in new pasteurization technology that extends the shelf life of cooked food for as much as 24 months. Fresh meals chilled immediately can now be stored for up to 90 days without added preservatives instead of the typical 48 hours. Thanks to pasteurization and sterilization, ready-to-eat meals – e.g., braised chicken rice, chicken briyani, beef stroganoff, pasta alfredo, and black pepper chicken udon – can be stored without refrigeration for six to 24 months. There is no adverse impact on food safety, nutrition or taste. Sats recently opened an extended kitchen facility at a Singapore airport that can now produce up to 60,000 meals a day, compared to 45,000 before.

"Sats unveils S$25m investment in new technology to boost output, cut waste", The Business Times Singapore, March 12, 2019

Milk Dispensers In Schools Reduce Milk Waste, Eliminate Milk Carton Waste



Harrisonburg (Va.) City Public Schools measured milk waste for a week in January, finding that on average students consumed 220 cartons of milk at lunch a day, adding to about 39,000 cartons each school year. Because they are not recyclable, they end up in the trash. Moreover, students consumed about 70 percent of the milk in the cartons, wasting 30 percent, or about four gallons a day. To combat the problem, Bluestone Elementary School, and others in the state, are installing $3,000 milk dispensers in the cafeteria that allow students to fill their own reusable cups with as little or as much chocolate or regular milk as they want. The savings on milk aren’t much, about a cent per 8-ounce serving, but with a tight budget every little bit helps, a school representative said. Not to mention the complete elimination of trashed milk cartons.

"Moo-ve Over Cartons; School Installs Milk Dispensers", Daily News-Record, March 04, 2019

Starbucks Meal Donation Program In Canada Will Reduce Hunger, Cut Food Waste

Starbucks Canada has launched a national initiative to provide ready-to-eat meals through its more than 1,100 company-owned stores. FoodShare builds on a successful pilot program with Second Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in Canada. The initiative launched in February at 250 stores in the greater Toronto area, and will expand to more cities and provinces and eventually to the whole country. In Canada, the company has always donated unsold pastries and baked goods, but will now donate more healthful breakfast sandwiches, paninis, protein boxes, salads, yogurt, milk, and dairy alternatives like soy and coconut. The company says the initiative not only helps combat hunger, it diverts food surplus from landfills, helping to minimize the company's environmental footprint. 

"Starbucks Canada to the 'food waste' rescue!", Fast Casual, February 28, 2019

 
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