5 Questions with Maen Mahfoud, Founder/CEO of Replate

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Maen Mahfoud, Founder/CEO of Replate

1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Growing up as a Syrian, I saw the effects of poor access to food nearly every day. After immigrating to California, I was disappointed to find similar disparities within San Francisco. I was inspired to build Replate after seeing a homeless man attacking a trash can in search for food.  

2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

Arash Derambarsh. He is a local councilor who started the fight against food waste in Paris, France. His campaign against food waste ended with a law forcing French supermarkets to donate surplus food to charities. He is aiming for similar legislations globally. 

3. What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

Using mason jars helps me cut down on my food waste because it forces me to take less food to work and allows me to eat out less. This results in less leftover food and enables me to take back my leftover food home for dinner or for the next day. Not to mention environmental benefit of washing and reusing the jars.

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Order less. I believe the best way to impact food waste at the personal level is to train your mind to order less food or trick your brain not to order or shop for more food than necessary. One way to do this is not to go to the supermarket when you are hungry. We tend to order way more when we are hungry at that instant. If you are already at the supermarket and hungry, then grab a snack from the shelf immediately.

5. What will it take for the US to make food waste a priority?

This is challenging because the US is known for its consumerism. However, bringing the right innovators to work together collaboratively to 1). Show the impact of food waste on our environment and 2). significantly reduce food waste, can show that food waste is a big issue but also a solvable one. This will attract attention from major stakeholders, legislators and politicians, and make food waste a priority.

 

5 Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Senior Advocate - Natural Resources Defense Council

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

If the world’s food waste were a country, it would rank third after China and the U.S. in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Wasted food is a huge climate change issue.  And when we waste food, we also waste all the water, fertilizer, pesticides, labor, packaging and other inputs used to grow, process, chill and transport it.  If you care about the environment, reducing food waste is a great place to start.  That motivates me daily.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

Perhaps, like many people, I would say that my mom has been a food waste hero for me.  She cooked for seven family members and she never let anything go to waste.  She was resourceful, thrifty and loathe to let good food land in the trash.

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Whenever I throw food away (and I still do sometimes, despite best efforts), I always stop to take a good look at it first.  I ask myself two questions:  What am I throwing out?  And why am I tossing it?  Pausing to ask myself those questions has been so powerful.  It has helped me realize that I tend to buy too much food right before travelling and I sometimes make too much of something and then don’t finish all of it.  That awareness has helped me make some simple, easy changes to cut my waste.

What will it take for America to make food waste a priority? 

Most consumers don’t think they waste food. They are very conscious of the price of food when they buy it, but often don’t think about the value of food when they throw it out.  We can make a difference if we help people start to “see” what they waste and recognize that they can save money if they save food.  This is true not only for consumers, but for businesses as well. The more food companies realize that trimming food waste can bolster their bottom line, the more they can also improve their environmental footprint.   

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

I’d say, first, become aware of the food you toss. That simple awareness can spur amazing creativity and help you make simple changes to cut your waste and enjoy more of the food you buy.  Beyond that, teach your kids to value their food.  Lastly, check out SaveTheFood.com for practical tips you can use at home any day of the week.

Karl Deily - President of Food Care, Sealed Air

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Rethinking the Food Waste Challenge to Protect our Food Supply

Growing enough food to feed the world is no small task, especially when per-capita consumption continues to increase. Increased consumption has also increased the amount of food we waste and the precious resources that go into producing it.  At the same time, one in eight people in the world continue to lack sufficient nutrients. If we’re truly going to stop food waste—one of the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time—we need to examine how we are thinking about the problem. This is what motivates me to support the Stop Food Waste Day pledge.

     Getting serious about reducing food waste will mean understanding the reasons why we waste food as well as our long-held beliefs, some of which actually can increase food waste. By addressing some of the common misconceptions about food waste, we are one step closer to solving this global challenge. 

#1: “We can only end hunger by growing more food”

Did you know that 40 percent of the world’s food that’s produced is never consumed? The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that if we cut just one quarter of that food waste, we could feed 870 million hungry people.

Making sure that the food we produce reaches people’s plates unspoiled can be a major step in creating a more sustainable food system worldwide. To do this, we’ll need better management of the food supply chain, strong communication with retailers and foodservice operators to anticipate customer needs, predictive technologies on use and freshness, and proper protection to help keep food fresher, longer. 

#2: “I don’t play a part in food waste”

Even though you may be cleaning your plate at every meal, you are likely contributing to food waste in ways you may not realize. In developed nations, retailers and consumers are responsible for almost 40 percent of our wasted food. This is partially a result of consumers not fully understanding food labels and throwing out food that’s still usable.[1]

Another issue is that people often refuse to buy “ugly” fruits and vegetables, even though quality and taste is the same as perfect produce. Consumer food demands and preferences drive retailer and processor decisions and impact the amount of food wasted. This is important to keep in mind when you are shopping or selecting groceries.

#3: “Packaging is more damaging to the environment than food waste”

Packaging must be carefully planned from the start to reduce waste in the supply chain. Over-packaging, poor design, and unsustainable material choices can all be major areas of waste that harm our planet. Properly designed packaging, however, provides maximum protection with the minimum amount of material. Most importantly, it plays an absolutely crucial role in reducing food waste and its environmental impact.

Many people don’t realize that the environmental impacts of food waste are greater than the environmental impacts of the use of packaging. Rotting food that gets sent to landfills emits the harmful greenhouse gas—methane. In this capacity, did you know that if food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas contributor?

Producing and delivering food also requires resources, from farmland to water to the energy used to transport it. If that food is then wasted because it wasn’t properly protected, all of those resources are also wasted instead of being used to provide valuable nutrients.

This issue will only become more pressing as the population grows and we need to work together to make a difference. On Stop Food Waste Day, I pledge to be a Food Waste Warrior, will you?

Pledge now and learn how to reduce food waste!

A conversation about food waste with Rick Post, COO - Compass Group USA

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

Growing up in a large working-class family we always made sure we never wasted anything! This included clothes, shoes, heat in the winter, baseball gloves and, of course, food.  I was the youngest of six and by the time things got to me, you couldn’t even use them. However, I was still happy to have it. We never went out for dinner as my mom cooked every meal. She utilized everything and it always tasted great. We weren’t allowed to leave the dinner table unless our plates were finished. There were no leftovers in our house.  

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

My youngest daughter Deanna really inspired me when she started to feed the homeless with a program called “Peace Begins with a Smile.” She sold her handmade rope bracelets and would then take the money to buy lunch for someone who was homeless on the street. What makes her story unique is she talks with the person to get their story and then gives that information to the person who bought the bracelet. It completes the circle. It’s a great story that I am proud of and inspired by. 

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Compass serves 9.8 million meals a day. Surplus food happens in our industry but when you see wasted food at the end of the day you can’t help but think of all the people who don’t have any food at all. It doesn’t feel right! At Compass, we always focus on how we can reduce wasted food and do the right thing.

What will it take for America to make food waste a priority? 

It’s about awareness and education. The more people realize how we can make a difference and support people in need, the better off the world will be! 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

I have been in the food business my entire life and I am fortunate to be around great food every day.  Change starts with me and I am committed to bringing awareness to people and businesses to make an impact. I can assure you my plate always leaves the table empty.  If more people did that it would make a huge difference at every age.  

Chef Tom Colicchio talks to Amy Keister about stopping food waste

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AK:      Why is reducing wasted food such a passion for you?

TC:       60 years ago, you knew the person that produced your food. You knew the farmer, you knew the fisherman and you knew the baker.  These were all people in your neighborhood.  Because you knew them, you placed a higher value on the food, the products that they produced.  Now we are several steps away from where and how our food is produced and we have devalued the food itself.

            It is not just the food that is being wasted, there are tremendous natural resources that are being wasted.  We have parts of the country in severe drought as well as greenhouse gasses and other environmental resource issues that are exasperated by wasting food.

 

AK:      Chef, you get asked to do countless partnerships and speaking engagements every day.  What drew you to Compass Group and partnering with Stop Food Waste Day?

TC:       I think that it is great for individuals and independent restaurants to step up and make a difference tackling food waste.  When you have a large organization that is producing and selling so much food every day and is committed stopping food waste, they you can really make a difference.

 

AK:      You are an incredibly talented Chef, entrepreneur, television star as well as a food activist on the national stage.  What’s next for you?

TC:       I want to keep raising awareness around these food issues.  I make my living in this industry but there are a lot of problems that come with that.  I will continue to speak out on the issues that affect this industry.  I will also be an advocate for the people in this country who do not have enough food to eat, the small family farmers that need our support as well as a supporter of any smart governance that can cure a lot of the ills in this country.

 

AK:      Chef, pretend you have a magic wand.  You can wave your wand and get everyone to do one thing that will make the biggest difference stopping food waste.  What is the one thing that you get everyone to do?

TC:       I don’t know if there is just one thing.  Make sure that you are getting to your food before it spoils.  Always be aware of what you have in your refrigerator and pantry.  Shop more frequently and have a plan when you do.  If something does spoil, imagine throwing away money.  Every scrap that goes in the bin is money.  What can you do to stretch that dollar?  Put value on your food and you will waste less. 

A conversation about food waste with Chef Jose Andres - Chef/Owner, ThinkFoodGroup

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1.       What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I love going to the farmer’s markets around DC. It is so exciting to be able to see what the farmers are bringing each week. And the best kept secret at farmers’ markets is the imperfect produce! It is always cheaper than the spotless, perfect stuff. Maybe this imperfect, overripe tomato is not the most beautiful one, but it is definitely the juiciest! Food doesn’t have to look amazing to taste that way.  If we can focus more on taste and less on look, this is a great step forward. 


2.       Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

Many years ago I was lucky enough to meet my friend Robert Egger, who started DC Central Kitchen and now has moved to open LA Kitchen. Robert was inspired by a food recovery idea he had – why not take the leftover food from banquets in the city, like the 1989 presidential inauguration, and feed many more people with it? For almost 30 years the organization has been receiving literally tons of imperfect fruits and vegetables from farmers and turning them into meals for those in need – it is an incredible story!

 
3.       What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

In my home, my family and I have worked to make our little piece of land very productive to feed ourselves. With the help of Bennett Haynes, the Chief of Produce at Beefsteak, we have installed raised beds to grow tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and so much more, and we also installed a tower garden so we can grow herbs all year around. And a few years ago I started working with German Perillafrom George Mason University, who is an expert with honeybees. He helped me install some amazing beehives at my home, and I have learned so much about how bees are so important for our food system.Our bees make so much honey, we always have extra to give to friends!

4.       What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

We have so much to focus on when it comes to feeding our country, and as soon as we can start to understand that we have a huge opportunity with the food that people are throwing away, we will be able to move forward. We need to be working on smart solutions to really think about innovative ways to combat hunger. How can we take leftover foods, imperfect produce, food that won’t ever make it to the grocery store – and make it into nutritious, tasty food for those in need? We need to be talking about this more!

 
5.       What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

We can all be more thoughtful with how to cook leftover food … do not throw away any scraps of food on your plates – make them your lunch tomorrow! When I make my daughters’ lunches, I like to pack them leftovers rather than sandwiches ... everyone wants to trade with them at school! Some of my favorite dishes come from yesterday’s meals – like migasand my favorite sopade ajothat both use day-old bread. With dishes like this, there is no need to throw anything away!

 

A conversation with Gary Green, CEO - Compass Group North America

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

My daughters are very interested in how and who grows their food.  They are so inspiring and their passion is contagious. Their generation is so much better than mine in terms of caring where their food comes from. My generation was the generation of “processed” food. 

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

My Mum and Dad were brought up on rations and food straight from the fields during and after the war.  They were raised to never let anything go to waste and their plates were always clean at the end of a meal. 

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

I’m very conscious of waste at catered events. I see how much food is prepared, served and thrown away – and therefore I try to be thoughtful about the quantities and types of food we order for catering.  I make certain that when we place orders, we get just enough without having excessive waste or leftovers.  

How can we help America make food waste a priority? 

Compass Group potentially has more contact with people on a daily basis than anyone else in the country.  We serve 9.8 million meals every day.  This sphere of influence and scale gives us the ability to help set an example and educate people in ways that they can reduce food waste at home and at work.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

We all need to change our perception around food and how it is stocked.  In our cafes, as in grocery stores, guests expect an abundance of food no matter the time of day.  I’d like to see that perception change somewhat.  It’s ok to run lower on food as meal and shopping periods come to a close.  This is where businesses most overproduce food.

5 Questions with Marc Zornes, Co-Founder - Winnow Solutions

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1. Can you describe how Winnow is working with Compass Group – and in what countries - to make an impact in helping to reduce food waste?

Compass has been working together with us for four years to solve the issue of food waste and run its operations more efficiently, profitably and sustainably. 

We connect commercial kitchens to the cloud, allowing them to record and analyse exactly what is put in the bin. This gives chefs the information necessary to drive improvements in their production processes to cut food waste in half, saving money and reducing their environmental footprint. 

Compass Group was one of Winnow’s first customers and has been our closest partner in

helping us develop and refine our technology. Working together with Winnow, Compass was able to reduce food waste by more than 50% across the UK & Ireland business and 38% Globally.

Winnow has been implemented across all key areas of Compass’ business including staff restaurants, universities, military bases and hospitals. Our work with Compass Group has shown that sites which take action to measure and monitor waste can cut food waste by 50% or more by value while addressing a major environmental issue. As a result, we are now live in Compass sites internationally: UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, UAE and trialling in Canada in a couple of weeks.

By addressing the issue of food waste, Compass is leading the way on how companies should address this challenge.

2. What motivates your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

While at McKinsey, I co-authored a significant research paper on resource productivity. I was struck by the food waste statistics when I first learned about them: one third of all food is wasted from farm to fork, and if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of Greenhouse Gases in the world behind the USA and China.

I believe that food is too valuable to waste, and that technology can transform the way we use food. What gets measured gets managed, and by using data intelligently kitchens can be more efficient. Reducing food waste will save money and lower the environmental impact of food production. Food waste costs the hospitality and foodservice sector over $100bn globally. With Winnow we have been working for the last four years to solve this enormous problem for both the sector and for society as a whole. 

3. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I am really inspired by all the innovative and forward-looking businesses who decided to be part of our journey and by doing so they are changing the way kitchens around the world are run forever. Together with them we are leading the charge in the war to reduce food waste and have achieved amazing results. Together we are saving 23 meals every minute from being wasted, which is incredible.

My real heroes are the chefs that we work with who make a change every day and inspire others to do the same.  Massimo Bottra, for example, is showing the world how to take food that would have been wasted and turning into a beautiful meal that brings people of all walks of life around a table together.

4. What change(s) have you made, personally, to be more mindful?

I am really conscious about not over-buying food and planning ahead for the meals I am preparing. I am trying to use each ingredient to its fullest and most of the time I do not follow recipes to the letter, just try to use what I have. It is much more fun and allows you to unleash your creativity.

5. What will it take for the UK, and society in general, to make food waste a priority?

We need to start thinking about food waste as an opportunity rather than as a problem. It takes investment and time but the potential economic, environmental and social benefits are huge. Addressing food waste systematically and with the right tools can be transformative and we are excited to see the global foodservice market waking up to the huge opportunity that addressing food waste presents.

 

Marc Zornes holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD and a Bachelors of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a former Manager at McKinsey & Company where he was a leader in the Sustainability and Consumer practices.

While at McKinsey, Marc co-authored the McKinsey Global Institute report, Resource Revolution: Meeting the World's Energy, Materials, Food and Water Needs. In developing this report, his team highlighted food waste as one of the biggest issues globally and yet very little was being done about it.

Marc then left McKinsey to found Winnow. Winnow builds technology to help chefs run their kitchens more efficiently focusing on helping chefs understand and prevent food waste. Since launch four years ago Winnow has been deployed hundreds of kitchens in 30 countries globally and has saved its customers over £11.5m by reducing food waste.

 

 

A Food Waste Conversation with Chris Garside, Managing Director - Compass Group UK & Ireland

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Why do you care about food waste reduction?

Creating waste isn’t in anyone’s interest and it certainly isn’t good for the planet. When we cut food waste we save money and natural resources enabling us to reinvest in the services we offer whilst helping to protect the planet at the same time.

What good examples have you seen of reducing food waste?

Every good example I have seen happens because people are engaged in reducing waste and have a tool to measure the waste. The Winnow system is a fantastic way to monitor food waste but it’s our colleagues that make the positive difference. Within our Business & Industry sector many sites also use our menu planning tool (The Source) to input waste data but again it’s our people that make the savings.

I also know we have local examples where people donate surplus packaged food with short shelf lives to charity. It’s good to know we’re helping feed vulnerable people rather than wasting food. 

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

At work I ask our chefs what they do to avoid wasting food: not to be critical but to encourage them to be creative. At home I find using the freezer is a great way to avoid leftovers going in the bin.

What will it take for UK & Ireland to make food waste a priority?

Ithink food waste is a priority for food businesses in the UK and Ireland. In the UK many business are involved in something called Champions 12.3 named after one of the Sustainable Development Goals (https://champions123.org/). I also love this website from Ireland which is full of top tips (http://stopfoodwaste.ie/). 

Where we struggle in the UK is in having regional waste policies that make operating consistently nationwide harder. A national waste system would help us. 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Make a shopping list.

Most people want to do their food shopping as fast as possible and if you’re hungry, have got the kids with you, or are just tired after a day at work it’s easy to buy more than you need. Having a shopping list (or buying online with time to plan) helps us buy what we need and avoid spending money on items that we don’t, which could end up as waste.

A Conversation with Norihiro Ozawa, President and CEO - Compass Group Japan

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Compass Japan has been awarded ISO 14001 certification for 17 years renewing every year. Starting from headquarters and branch offices, now 66% of our sites have been certified by taking actions to reduce food wastes. This figure is the biggest in the field of food contract business in Japan. However, since our service itself heavily affects clients' activities to achieve their environmental goal, it is necessary to continue making efforts to realize further expansion and deepening of food waste reduction activities. As a leading company, the continuation of such activities will make the quality of our market itself higher, our clients and consumers happier, and finally the confidence of colleagues in Compass Japan higher.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

Since long ago in Japan, people have cherished the concept of "MOTTAINAI," which expresses how people should respect the resources around us, to not waste resources, and to use them with a sense of gratitude. Finally it has been globally known through activities by Wangari Muta Maathai who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. In my childhood, I learned its concept from my grandmother who had experienced child-raising challenges during the period of food shortage after World War 2. With gratitude to blessings of nature, I had been educated to finish all foods on my plate. Naturally, I hand down the concept of MOTTAINAI to my children. I believe daily customs related to foods are highly influenced by the education from parents to children.

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

When I go shopping with my wife to the grocery store, I always stop by an area of bargain products, to buy vegetables and fruits with less freshness, and seasonings which are close to expiration. While of course I can enjoy lower prices (buying bargain products), it is also important to teach my children these practices.

What will it take for Japan to make food waste a priority?

In Japan, the Ministry of the Environment takes initiatives to promote a variety of activities to reduce food waste. One of its core activities is to educate people about the food waste problem and how to solve it by changing eating habits at home and at the restaurant. Regarding education at home, they implement educational actions through school lunch for children. In restaurants, they promote the concept of "3010 movement" -enjoy foods for the first 30 minutes after the party starts and for the last 10 minutes before closing. They also promote a variety of actions to finish foods. In this sense, “Education” is a very important aspect among our actions for the Stop Food Waste Day in April. 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

It is very important to organize ingredients in the refrigerator frequently. This will help prevent purchase of unnecessary foods, and utilizing foods close to expiration. Checking what is in the refrigerator is important before going shopping.

5 Questions with Pete Pearson - Director, Food Loss & Waste - World Wildlife Fund

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction? 

Almost 10 years ago I worked for a grocery chain (Albertsons/SUPERVALU) in their IT department. Food was our business, but as an IT professional, I was somewhat removed from the business of selling food. That changed when I decided to enroll in an MBA program that focused exclusively on sustainability through Green Mountain College in Vermont. At the time, it was one the first programs of its kind. After receiving my MBA, my entire outlook on the food system had changed and it educated me on the importance of food, especially as sustainable global resource consumption gains more attention. Food is a nexus for everything: Its production drives and is hindered by climate change; it contributes significantly to the loss of forests, wetlands, grasslands and other habitats, as well as the wildlife that call them home; it accounts for 70 percent of humankind’s total freshwater consumption. It’s also critical socially, politically, and economically. If you can solve problems related to food, you can tackle a lot. Serendipitously, soon after finishing the program, I was hired as a new Director of Sustainability at Albertsons/SUPERVALU. A large part of my role was to improve our store recycling programs, including increasing our food waste prevention, donation and diversion programs. Achieving zero waste has been my full time job and core mission for a while now. I’d say I’m dedicated to waste reduction, whatever form it takes.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you? 

My first inspiration came from Rick Crandall. Rick had worked in retail operations for 30-plus years in southern California and knows the grocery retail work better than anyone. He was an amazing advocate for our zero waste program and single-handedly changed an entire culture of grocery stores in California (Albertsons). He inspired and informed our zero waste program, which he helped to start over 10 years ago. We need more Rick Crandallsin the world!

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

My advice is get the kids involved. My daughter’s chore is the recycling and my son’s chore is the compost bin. Get the schools active. If we don’t get the next generation involved and changing behaviors, then we just postpone the behavior shift that is needed. And as we all know, habits form early. Starting to compost is important because you keep food waste out of landfills and separating it from the trash gives you a better idea of how much food you throw out. That said, it’s important to make a commitment to a prevention-first mindset. We don’t grow food to compost it. Beyond food waste, there is so much in our “throw-away” culture that we really don’t need. Be mindful of single-use disposable items and ask yourself if you really need it. Not using something is far better than recycling. Do you really need that plastic bag?

 What will it take for America to make food waste a priority? 

While not yet a cultural norm and while there is still much to do, I think the wheels of progress are turning. We have big food businesses like Kroger and others making large commitments to end hunger and waste in our communities. We have a national campaign sponsored by the AdCounciland NRDC to reduce food waste. And the EPA and USDA have published goals around food waste reduction. Momentum is building and we’re recognizing this is a problem that can be solved. I’m incredibly optimistic.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

It sounds funny, but when you eat, pause and appreciate your food. Saying a prayer used to be a social norm at the dinner table and we’ve lost that moment of reflection. I think we need to bring that moment of mindfulness back. It doesn’t have to be in a religious or spiritual sense if that’s not your thing, but we all need to take time and appreciate all the sacrifices that our food represents and not take it for granted. Food is a sacrifice of energy, water, and wildlife habitat. Growing food takes an incredible amount of human and environmental energy and money. Wasting it squanders not only those immediate resources, but it puts at risk future resources for all life on this planet.

A Conversation with Chef Chris Ivens-Brown, Chief Culinary Officer - Eurest

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What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately? 

Personally I think its brilliant and long overdue. When I was growing up my mother never wasted anything and, with four growing children and a tight budget, she couldn’t afford to waste anything.

We have lost this thought-pattern over the last few decades, so it’s great that it is being brought back to the forefront. And at Eurest, it ties all of our sustainability efforts into one.

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen? 

Elevate the awareness of every foodservice associate on the importance of being more conscious in food-waste reduction at the source. We provide tools and tips they can easily utilize to address the issue.  

For professional kitchens, it’s all about the ordering--specifically not over-ordering, production and, of course, the menu, the heart of every kitchen. Proper production records and cross-utilization of products are instrumental. For example, our chefs need to be comfortable and creative. For example, try making croutons and garlic bread from scratch using day-old bread.

How about in the home kitchen? 

Essentially, the same rules apply. From an ordering standpoint, when shopping buy only what you’re going to eat. When shopping, I use my mother’s words, “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs” to remind myself to just buy the  ingredients we don’t already have. Menuingin a home is the same, in a way. Map out your meals for the week and cross-utilize ingredients to create balance meals. There are so many things you can do at home to cut back on waste. My 10 Ways To Utilize Food Scraps list gives tips for these and many more. A lot of it is common sense combined with experimentation.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference? 

Think before you throw it out. Remember: there are millions of people in the world who are starving--and we forget that. Decades ago, farmers and peasants alike would make-do with what they had and could afford. A classic dish such as Bouillabaisse (Fish Soup) was made up of leftover scraps from fish--including the bones--marinated with vegetables and seasonings. Other soups and stews such as Gazpacho, Vichyssoise, cassoulet or Brunswick stew were all created to utilize leftover ingredients. 

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers? 

My favorite way would be dehydrating things like tomatoes with orange powder, garlic and thyme. The orange powder comes from a dried orange peel. Olives and grapes are just amazing from a flavor standpoint. And creating them at home is better than buying them premade. Soups, are great for at home utilization of leftovers. Use basic common sense is the best approach. I love doing a hash on the weekends, or from my country “Bubble and Squeak,” which are leftover veggies, potatoes and meat sautéed up in a pan, finished with a fried egg and chees--and a mimosa to wash it down.

A Great Conversation with Sabrina Scheer- Head of Communications Compass Group Germany

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What is your opinion regarding the great deal of attention currently being paid to food waste?

I think it’s great that people are putting a major emphasis on the subject today. There is a certain disregard in throwing away a large portion of one’s own food while people in other places struggle to survive. It also has to do with appreciation. There are more and more initiatives that are actively committed against food waste. I think the app “Too Good To Go”, where surplus food is offered at very affordable prices, is fantastic! The same goes for foodsharing platforms. Food is even distributed for free there.

What are your best tips for reducing the amount of food that goes to waste in the kitchen as simply as possible?

I always put away the newly bought food to the rear of the fridge, the older food towards the front. With fruit that gets mushy, like strawberries, I often make a smoothie or jam out of them.

What is a small change that everyone can put into practice in everyday life in order to make a big difference?

I make a conscious effort when shopping for food. At the supermarket, the art of advertising psychology makes sure that people frequently pack more into the shopping cart than they want – especially when they’re hungry. I prefer regional and seasonal foods because they can’t get damaged by what are often long transport routes from abroad and consequently end up being sorted out.

What are your methods for recycling leftovers and scraps?

I often get my inspiration via ingredient-based recipe searches on the internet. For instance, I recently made an omelette out of potatoes boiled in their skins, courgette and eggs. That way I was able to use up the potatoes and eggs and had a delicious meal for dinner. But my all time favourite is soup made with leftover vegetables! 

A conversation with Stuart Buckner - President of Buckner Environmental Associates, LLC

 Stuart is the Conference Chair for the Annual Composting & Organics Recycling Conference & Food Recovery Forum at WasteExpo.

Stuart is the Conference Chair for the Annual Composting & Organics Recycling Conference & Food Recovery Forum at WasteExpo.

 

1.   What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

For the past 30 years, the focus of my career has been on Organics Management - composting, anaerobic digestion (AD) and organics recycling. Sustainability is at the core of organics management. Emphasis is put on diverting organics, like yard trimmings and food scraps, from landfills to produce renewable energy and compost that create high-quality soil amendments for growing healthy plants and crops. 

To broaden the scope of this work, I’ve developed large-scale conferences that unite industry experts to discuss these issues and provide solutions. The Food Recovery Forum was created to compliment my client’s Organics Recycling Conference at WasteExpo (Penton Media, now Informa). Now in its third year, the Food Recovery Forum focuses on Solutions to Food Waste Prevention, Reduction & Recovery. (Editor’s Note: Compass Group’s Amy Keister will be speaking)

2.   Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I have many food waste heroes who have inspired me through their dedication to solving the various food waste issues that are prevalent in this country. These include many of the leaders of charitable, nonprofit, academic, private and public sector organizations who are doing great work on a local, regional, and/or national stage. Just look at this year’s Food Recovery Forum Program (track 2), and for the past two years, for the names of some of my food waste heroes.

3.   What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Paying more attention to buying what we need, using what we buy, and giving anything that is not being used to our local food bank.

4.  What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

It will take a greater understanding of the needs and better education at the consumer level.  In addition, it will take an even greater commitment, increased education and funding at every level of government.

5.   What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Plan well. Buy only what you need and use what you buy. Regardless, there will always be pre- and post-plate food waste that cannot be salvaged, so make sure these materials are used to generate renewable energy and compost to build healthy soils

A conversation with Alice Woodwark - Managing Director, Restaurant Associates - UK

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What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Food waste only really becomes visible once you see the kind of figures we, as a UK population, are throwing away. Once you are made aware of this fact, it is difficult not to become personally invested in the issue. We recognise that as a company we also need to reduce our food waste. We’ve already introduced a number of measures to tackle this issue and as our target to reduce our food waste by 10% by 2020 shows, it remains at the very top of our agenda.

Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

We have an amazing team at Wellcome Trust who have done the business proud in the way they have adopted the technology of Winnow Solutions--a smart-scale system which weighs food waste and produces detailed reports on what is being wasted and where in the foodservice process. Particular praise must go to Claire Adams, Contract Manager on site, for embedding the technology so well in the kitchen. I believe the whole kitchen team deserve the highest of praise. Reducing food waste by 70% is an incredible achievement, one that even caught the eye of esteemed food critic Charles Campion when he visited the site to taste the delicious ‘rejuvenated’ (utilising unused ingredients) menu.

What change have you made, personally, to be more mindful of food waste?

In the past, I believe we have all probably been guilty of overindulging in portion size. I now make a conscious effort to buy slightly less food so that I do not overeat or leave food uneaten on my plate--two scenarios which I am sure we are all familiar with.

What will it take for the UK to make food waste a priority?

I believe there has already been a substantial shift in perception of food waste. Take for instance the Courtauld 2025 Commitment to cut food waste by 20%, which has now collected 136 signatories, Compass Group included. There is still a lot we can do collectively as a nation, but the signs are there that the message is taking hold.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

One of the most important steps someone can take to reducing their personal food waste is to simply plan ahead in a sensible fashion; buying impulse items is a sure way to seeing some of it end up in the bin.

A Conversation with Andy Lansing - CEO, Levy Restaurants

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1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

Anyone who works in hospitality should have a personal interest in reducing food waste. We’re all trying to reduce our costs without sacrificing quality, and the number one best way to do this is by reducing waste. You can truly save an enormous amount of money without sacrificing a single aspect of the guest’s experience, just by being mindful.

 

2. Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

I’m on the road constantly visiting our locations, and I am inspired virtually every day by the work our people to do reduce food waste. Whether it’s executive chefs creating new dishes to celebrate underused cuts of meat or produce, line cooks dedicating themselves to getting the most out of every single ingredient, or operators finding ways to repurpose used cooking oil, countless individuals across Levy find ways both big and small to reduce waste every day.

 

3. What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

I was raised as a proud member of the clean plate club, so I’ve never been one to let food go to waste. But I also use my role as a leader to encourage Levy to be a true innovator in sustainability. Our locations donate unused food to local food banks and charities, and at the scale at which we operate, that can make a huge impact in both reducing food waste and serving those in need. We’ve also long used recycled products at every possible opportunity, making sure that we’re reducing every kind of waste in our operations.

 

4. What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

While it’s critical for every individual to do his or her part in reducing food waste, companies like Levy and Compass Group have an enormous opportunity to lead the way in our practices, both by setting examples and using the scope of our business to make immediate and significant impacts. When I look at the broader hospitality industry, I see companies in every aspect of the business doing their part to cut food waste. They know it’s not only the right thing to do, but also good business. I’m an eternal optimist, but I think anyone who spends time in our business would be encouraged by where things are headed.

 

5. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

I think it’s important that we all vote through our dollars by supporting companies that make a commitment to reducing food waste. I’m very proud that Levy and Compass Group share this commitment

5 Questions with Belinda Oakley - CEO, Chartwells K-12

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1. Which non-profit mission do you feel most committed to supporting?

It is my belief that a steady job is the single most important step in a person’s transition out of poverty or distress. That’s why I’ve focused my efforts on building confidence and creating pathways to self-sufficiency for at-risk youth, homeless and low-income individuals. Through volunteer work and mentoring employees, I am proud to be able to ‘be the change’ for those in need of a hand up. 

2. How did you become personally invested?

As a teenager, I personally experienced displacement and at that time, questioned what good the future could hold for me. Since then, ‘there but for fortune’ has always remained top of mind because I know just how close we can be to a change in circumstance. I have been blessed and continue to be blessed by the support of individuals in both my personal and professional life who see more in me than I often see in myself. That belief and support has driven me to aim higher and strive further than I ever thought I could. Now, I’m not only compelled, but am sincerely committed to paying it forward. 

3. What do you do to show your support?

Over the years, I have worked with a number of not-for-profit organizations such as Chrysalis in Los Angeles and Urban Peak in Denver whose missions include supporting low income, homeless or unstably housed, recently incarcerated or recently rehabilitated individuals get back on their feet. Through these experiences, I have had the opportunity to volunteer as an employment coach helping individuals in a variety of ways, from getting a suit that makes them feel confident for a job interview, to writing their first resume or practicing for an upcoming job interview. I have also served as a youth mentor and a program instructor for job readiness classes. 

4. Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference?

As a volunteer with Chrysalis, I had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with incredible people who were just in need of a second chance – many of whom were housed temporarily on infamous Skid Row. When people learned about my work there, it struck me how easily they would stereotype the individuals in need. Being able to share the facts with friends, families and co-workers made a difference immediately.  75% of people who came to Chrysalis had their high school diploma of GED. 33% were parents with children under the age of 18%. 11% were veterans. One co-worker in particular was so struck by the impact we were making that she too became a volunteer. Secondly, at Chrysalis, when a person  secures a job, they celebrate by ringing the “Success Bell” in the lobby. Standing and applauding that moment of change for individuals I supported will remain with me forever.

5. Why is it important to you to give your time to others?

We all have the opportunity to be the change in someone else’s life and if you’ve experienced the gift of giving back, you know there is no greater feeling. As a mother to a beautiful little girl, it’s also important to me to instill these values and be a role model for service so that she can grow up to change someone’s life!

 

A conversation with GENCER ÜZÜMLÜ - Compass Group Turkey Culinary Director

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What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately? 

Being conscious about food wastage and taking necessary actions not to waste food as an individual, corporate and community is our responsibility to our planet, people and nations which do not have the number of resources available to us.

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional and home kitchen?

Proper planning in all aspects of production and operation is the key to minimize or stop food wastage. Success in planning the menu, staff and purchasing will definitely minimize or end the food waste. I would say proper planning will help a lot in the home kitchen as well.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Considerate and responsible purchasing and well-planned menus will lead to proper cooking and consumption. Think twice before planning, buying and cooking.

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers?

I like to use leftover vegetables and herbs as flavouring agents for my roasts. I also cook a lot of purees and soups with whatever is left in the fridge.

5 Questions with Jessica Rainbolt - Communications Specialist

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1. What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I spent half my childhood on a farm in Nebraska. Because my family was putting a lot of work into the food we were eating, I was a little more aware of when it was wasted. Last year, I started working for Compass Group as the company was kicking off the first annual Stop Food Waste Day. The team’s passion around food waste reduction inspired me to pay closer attention to my contribution to the waste problem. I realized that even though I grew up in a family that cared a lot about food, I wasn’t doing all that I could to stop food waste. That awareness pushed me to make changes in my shopping and eating habits. I love that I work for a corporation that cares so much about the well-being of the planet; it’s contagious! 

2.  Can you share a story about a food waste hero who inspired you?

My mother is the biggest food waste warrior I know. She developed a food allergy later in life that requires her to be extremely cautious about prepared foods. For that reason, she makes everything from scratch--from preparing her own deli meat and broths to homemade pasta and bread. She puts so much time and effort into each meal, she doesn’t waste any of it. She freezes veggie scraps and bones to use in her broths and stocks. She repurposes leftovers so effectively, you’d be surprised you ate that meal already. One of my favorite transformations was from this past Thanksgiving’s leftovers. She turned the turkey and stuffing into delicious nachos—a completely different meal using the ingredients from a meal we ate the day before. Even if I wanted to, it would be almost impossible to waste food around her because a lecture about how many ways you can use asparagus stalks will immediately follow.

3.  What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

I’ve started taking more trips to the grocery store. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables, but they don’t last. Growing up in a large family, I was trained to buy in bulk. But since I’m typically cooking much smaller meals for myself, my veggies would often go bad before I got the chance to enjoy them. It takes a cognizant effort to plan my meals for the week and shop only for what I need for the next few days. Now, I plan meals around the fresh ingredients I have left in the fridge and avoid consuming any frozen items until the fresh ones are gone.

4.  What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

It’s all about awareness. Because we live in a world of abundance, we often times forget how much work goes into everything we eat. From the amount of resources it takes to grow a single avocado and the work farmers put into the food we purchase, to the number of people hungry or food-insecure here in America and around the world, those numbers should remain top-of-mind. From the impact on our environment to our wallets, the food waste problem effects every single person. With awareness, people are becoming even more passionate about the food waste problem. That passion will eventually result in common sense legislation around food waste and create positive food habits for all of us.

5.     What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?  

Stop living by expiration dates. I lecture my friends all the time when I see them throwing out eggs or milk just because of the date on the carton. The “sell by” and “use by” dates have been around so long, we’ve been conditioned to live by them. You’ll know when milk is bad. You can test eggs before cracking them open to see if they’ve gone bad. If you find you are throwing out the same foods every time, adjust your shopping habits accordingly.

A Conversation with Zsa Zsa Soffe - Compass Group Communications Manager

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What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately? 

I think it’s long overdue. It’s great that we’re seeing a focus on such an important topic.  I grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe where we were very self-sufficient--picking vegetables daily from our garden. Not much ever went to waste.  Plus, I’ve seen extreme poverty in countries like Zimbabwe and India where many survive on just one meagre (meager) meal a day.  As someone who loves to cook, I am acutely aware of the waste I sometimes create so I am trying every day to turn this awareness into tangible action to reduce my own food wastage.  Working for Compass Group has given me that added push! 

What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen? 

Don’t buy too much! Check your shelves and your fridge and make a list before going to the supermarket.  Don’t get carried away ordering groceries online that you don’t need. Also, consider all parts of the vegetable – most of the bits we throw away are perfectly edible, contain fiber and other nutrients, and are actually delicious.  Keep the leaves from celery and add them to a soup or stew for extra flavour (flavor). Make a pesto using the fronds and stems of a fennel plant. I could go on… 

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference? 

Put on your plate only what you know you can finish.  

What is your favorite way to repurpose leftovers? 

I love turning leftover rice into a tasty new meal.  When I have leftover cooked rice, the next day I fry off onions, garlic and whatever vegetables I have in the fridge – peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms, fennel. I add touch of chili – add some fresh chopped tomatoes. Then the rice and lots of fresh herbs and seasoning and bingo: I have another tasty and healthy meat-free meal-- equally yummy eaten cold as a packed lunch.