Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1220124

Contents of this Issue


Page 36 of 75

To that end, cutting down on red meat can effect huge change, Leibowitz says. In her restaurant, beef and lamb account for 48 percent of the foodprint. The biggest change restaurant operators can make, she says, is supporting regenerative agriculture which sows the carbon back into the land. Campus Dining Progress Cutting down or cutting out waste is not only happening in restaurants. Other types of foodservice facilities are likewise doing their part. At Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools in Perth Amboy, N.J., culinary instructor Stephen J. Moir has eliminated Styrofoam and disposable plates and cutlery, and switched to recycled products, which cost close to $1,000. "The lifespan of non-disposable plates, silverware, and cups are 10 years, and the outlay of initial costs are recovered within two years," he explains. He's also halted all purchases of bottled water, moving instead to filtered tap water, saving $3,000 a year in the process. And Moir's begun buying more local and organic food, which, to his surprise, only increased his costs by 2 percent. Moir notes the schools have cut down on waste by 14 percent, from the reduction of disposables and by planning menus in reverse. Menus are now based on available produce first, grain or starch second, and complemented with protein. "Center of the plate protein has gone from 8 ounces, on average, to 5 to 6 ounces." At the beginning of this school year, Penn State University in State College, Pa., created its first ever Housing and Food Services sustainability coordinator position, then promptly filled it with a recent graduate, Anna Sostarecz. The school is on a warpath. It's eliminated plastic bags from convenience stores and is reducing straw and plastic lid use simply by placing them in an inconvenient location. On its Brandywine campus, this strategy has decreased plastic lid use by 40 percent. And Sostarecz has introduced a reusable food container program. Until this year 10 to 15 percent of students were taking to-go food in reusable containers but now it's more than double that, with about a quarter of meals leaving dining halls in them. To improve these numbers, orientation teams threw a picnic at the beginning of the year and handed out the containers to the 450 freshman attendees. One fact that shocked students: Penn Zero Foodprint Ethos Karen Leibowitz is the executive director of Zero Foodprint and the co-founder of Mission Chinese Food restaurant in San Francisco. She's long been a proponent of zero waste. Leibowitz is actively recruiting restaurant members in California into Zero Foodprint and somewhat more passively, she says, in other states. Once they're a member, restaurants can: • Add a 1 percent surcharge to diners' checks. These donations are then used to fund better farming—creating healthier soil that helps restore carbon to the atmosphere. This, says Leibowitz, "distributes the cost among diners." • Go carbon neutral. Zero Foodprint offers advice on how to reduce and offset carbon usage. • Undergo a Zero Foodprint assessment to estimate the restaurant's impact based on three factors: ingredient inventory; energy use; waste and recycling. To date, some 70 restaurants have completed the process or are getting close. However, the surprising thing Leibowitz has discovered is that while food waste is important, what's more essential are the ingredients and how they're produced. For Mission Chinese Food, for example, waste accounts for 4 percent of the annual foodprint and ingredients for 78 percent. Energy and transportation/deliveries, respectively, account for 14 and 4 percent. "So, it's great that people are asking themselves what happens to their food after they've been to the restaurant, but it's important to ask what the impact is before it gets to the restaurant," she points out. "It's great that people are asking themselves what happens to their food after they've been to the restaurant, but it's important to ask what the impact is before it gets to the restaurant." 34 SPECIALTY FOOD SPECIALTYFOOD.COM ZERO WASTE Penn State dining services has scales in kitchens that measure and track food waste. Each is attached to a tablet with the Leanpath program on it. When an employee throws away food, the tablet sends the user through a series of questions about what the food is and why it's being thrown away. Barley Swine serves vegetable parts like leaves and stems which are usually discarded. PHOTO: RICHARD CASTEEL

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Specialty Food Magazine - Spring 2020