Food Waste before haversting

The 7 most important tips for avoiding food waste in the catering industry

Food waste is a serious problem in our world. In purely mathematical terms, global food production would be sufficient to eliminate hunger. But one-third of all agricultural products never reach consumers. A situation that also alarms the United Nations: “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” is number 12 of its Sustainable Development Goals It is up to all of us to find new solutions for sustainable consumption and production patterns. The food and beverage industry has a special responsibility here.

Around 1.3 billion tonnes of food are either not harvested at all or are destroyed unused. This corresponds to about 30 per cent of global production and would be enough to feed every hungry person twice. 13.8 per cent alone become unusable in the course of food manufacturing. They are lost after harvesting or during transport, storage and processing. Not only is nutritious food destroyed here but also over 400 billion dollars annually.

F&B Process - 13,8 % of food ist lost in supply chain


Is food waste a luxury problem?

Even what ends up to the consumer is not necessarily eaten. The affluent society in the western world has an enormous influence on the use of food production. Although our grandparents and parents still suffered from hunger due to war, we have developed a rather wasteful use of food. We demand a huge variety of the best quality food and are even picky about its appearance: we expect – and buy – immaculate fruits and vegetables that look like the photos in GaultMillau in terms of shape, size and colour. And then we throw a good part of them away. Because we have no use for it, the former fresh product has passed its expiry date or we are simply fed up.

Food inventory management

The food and beverage industry must take responsibility

It is not only consumers who need to rethink. In order to decimate waste, the F&B industry is also called upon. Food waste from restaurants accounts for an incredible 15 per cent of all food that ends up in landfills. This is not only a space problem but also a climatic one: rotting produces methane – a gas that drives the greenhouse effect even more than carbon dioxide. Food storage and stock control play a crucial role. 

Taking inventory is mostly done traditionally on pen and paper and by physical counting: if the chef wants to know how much cheese is left, he has to go to the cooling house and check himself or ask someone to do it. If he needs to check the food expiry date of a slow-moving ingredient, someone needs to visually check it against the item’s label and keep this in mind. Not paying enough attention to this often leads to over-ordering and overstocking. Both cost money and increase the food waste problem. 

The solution: Warehouse Management Software makes food storage easier

How can chefs and restaurant managers have more control over the company’s resources? How can they and their brigade be freed from these tasks? It takes more than a piece of paper and a pen to manage all the items and often supply managers cannot do much more because their office is under-structured in terms of staff and tools. Keep in mind that these warehouses contain hundreds, if not thousands, of different references. Approximation and accumulation cause great wastes of money and especially food. Using gut feeling and experience instead of maths is the recipe for bad results and discrepancies. 

Nowadays, human memory is enhanced by machine automation and digitisation. That’s why we have developed Storate, a warehouse management software (WMS) that uniquely tracks every single item in your warehouse. It alerts you in advance when something is about to expire unless it has already been consumed. This makes your inventory control and order management a piece of cake.

Food management at a breakfast restaurant. Table set.

More tips to avoid food waste in your restaurant

Start a waste diary

To increase your staff awareness, report your waste behaviours daily. At what point in the value chain does it happen? Which food goes to waste? How could this be avoided? Such a diary will quickly start changing processes.

Order only what you need.

Adopting a more analytical approach will pinpoint seasonal and occasion-driven fluctuations from regular utilisation. It is not only a matter of identifying which dishes are doing well and which not, but especially important is to put that in relation to the time of delivery of your suppliers and what stock you should have for the season. Go for fresh, regional products in particular; they often have a longer shelf life and are more environmentally friendly. 

Order wisely

Coordinating the ingredients of the dishes not only makes purchasing easier but also ensures that less of it ends up in the rubbish. After all, the products can be used for several dishes. Talk to your post chefs. What does the garde manger need, what does the entremetier want? What can be combined?

Store correctly

Food incorrectly stored will spoil quicker. Make sure there are no gaps in the cold chain, follow the FIFO principle (first-in-first-out) and keep an eye on the food expiry date. Tools like Storate will automatically warn you when an item is about to expire.

Use the full raw materials in food processing

Your brigade’s involvement and responsibility will be decisive. Does this much really need to be cut away when cleaning vegetables? Can’t the rest of the lettuce be used for something else? Think across kitchen departments too: if only one egg yolk is needed for the tartare, perhaps your patisserie colleague can use the white. Vegetable and meat trimmings can also be used to make soup stocks, etc.

Listen to your guests

Your service staff will notice if they regularly bring back a lot of leftovers and the portions are too big. In this case, you can offer different sizes or provide side dishes as an option. Should dishes hardly demanded be taken off the menu?

To sum up, not ordering something in the first place or using it in time is the easiest way to avoid food waste in the foodservice industry. Our warehouse management software makes your work easier and saves your resources and money. Not to mention time you can invest in your creations and still go home on time! 

Check our solution and its benefits



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