Turning foodservice business green

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Turning foodservice business green

  1. 1. Turning Food Services Businesses Green & Profiting From It Zero Waste Systems Michael Webber
  2. 2. Bio Renew Pty Ltd. © 2013 www.biorenew.com.au Bio Renew Pty Ltd. materials published on the internet are protected by copyright law. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced or reused for any commercial purposes whatsoever. Turning Food Services Businesses Green & Profiting From It Bio Renew Pty Ltd. 61 2 9420 4222 Michael Webber info@biorenew.com.au
  3. 3. Page Will We Save Money? 85 Table of Contents Page Introduction 6 National Initiatives 9 What Our Customers Want 14 New Trends 25 Catering & Institutions 29 Education 52 Food Costs 53 Wastage 57 Preparation Wastage 58 Pre-Consumer Waste 62 Plate Wastage 62 Spoilage 65 Takeout Wastage 66 Waste Disposal 69 Packaging 72 Basic Practices to Start Going Green 78 Track Your Usage 78 Audit Your Operation 81 Set Goals 82 Prioritize 82 Case Study Drift Bistro, Peregian Beach, Queensland Case Study Broadfield Youth & Community Centre, UK Case Study Darden Restaurants, US 86 87 88 Monitor Your Progress 89 How to Engage Your Staff 95 Surveys 97 Brainstorming 99 Training 100 Other Resources 104 What Should I Change in My Business? 108 In-House Changes 112 Building and Grounds Maintenance 120 Green Marketing 124 Certification and Accreditation Digital Marketing Print Marketing Other Resources 124 126 128 128 Customer Engagement 130 Vision for the Future 133 Next Steps 135 Organic production and preservation Local Food Local Food Sources Co-op Grocery Stores Production Contracts 135 136 138 141 142 Summary 143 Page 5
  4. 4. Introduction Everyone has heard the term “green” and most people would agree that something needs to be done to protect our planet. The dictionary definition of a green business is “a business functioning in a capacity where no negative impact is made on the local or global environment, the community, or the economy. A green business will also engage in forward-thinking policies for environmental concerns and policies affecting human rights” (Business Dictionary.com). Clearly this present day definition involves a lot more than recycling a few bottles or newspapers. Going green involves different facets of the business. These include water usage, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable furnishings and building materials, sustainable food, energy, disposables and chemical and pollutants reduction. Many countries have recognized green non-profit organizations that monitor business progress and award designations where appropriate. Page 6 Page 7
  5. 5. Local and federal governmental authorities and world organizations are all working diligently to look at the big picture when it comes to food and food delivery too. Their primary target is to secure a healthy food supply for our world’s population. Sustainable development for food is on the table in practically every country of the world because it is a real threat to the survival of the human race if it is not taken seriously. By working to guarantee healthy food production and food delivery today our food chain will be protected in the future. This means we cannot cause major damage to our environment anymore - period. This move towards sustainability includes individuals, communities, businesses and government. Of course, food service businesses must be involved in the food chain as well. We know there are social, economic and environmental impacts felt from everything we do and it is becoming clearer every day that it is everyone’s responsibility. The food service industry Page 8 must step up to the plate to design out the negative impacts when possible or at the very least minimize them at every opportunity. The fact that governments have strong food sector strategies and many businesses worldwide have already embraced this move towards sustainability indicates just how relevant it is. According to UNEP, over half the food produced in the world today is lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiencies in the human-managed food chain (UNEP, The Environmental Food Crisis). We unquestionably have a lot of work to do to achieve this. NATIONAL INITIATIVES Australia is clearly very concerned about the direction our planet is taking. The 266 page Sustainable Australia Report 2013 lists waste, water and natural resources as three of their primary topics of focus for the future. Waste is considered vital as “waste disposed to landfill has high costs for our society, from pollution and infrastructure costs to the need to find replacement resources. By reducing waste and increasing recycling rates, we can lessen our Page 9
  6. 6. impact on the environment while saving money and conserving resources”. Australian statistics mirror those found worldwide. The amount of waste is increasing at an alarming rate and in Australia at least 48% of it is ending up in landfills. The shocking revelation is that the majority of this is recyclable. The amount of waste from the food industry is very evident as approximately 32% organic and 66% of this comes from the commercial and industrial sectors. From these statistics it is apparent that improvements could certainly be made in how we deliver food to the plate instead of the waste bin. The conservation of natural resources also affects the food service industry. Sustainable fish stocks are a Page 10 worldwide concern and Australia has done well in stabilizing its supply as well as ensuring they are not over-fished in the future. For timber sustainable levels are established that are meant to protect the region by limiting the amount of timber that can be removed each year so the flow of wood products continues indefinitely. Timber resources available for commercial purposes from public lands have been drastically reduced as these lands are set aside for conservation. Australia is also harvesting less timber from plantation lands, rather than more. Obviously these reduced resources mean higher costs for new paper and packaging production. Fossil fuels rank as one of the most important considerations when trying to establish sustainability because they have such a detrimental impact on the environment. This report also shows that Australia’s supply of available fossil fuels is on a decline, except for brown and black coal. Unfortunately the environmental impact of burning coal is extremely high including many serious health effects. The mining process is well-documented for contributing to dangerous solid waste products too. Page 11
  7. 7. While many industries such as food production and manufacturing have been regulated into compliance by government bodies or have taken the initiative on the own accord, food service facilities in most countries remain relatively unchanged. Of course, most restaurants know the prudence of having a good recycling program in place for bottles, cans and paper; but little has been done about the amount of food that still ends up in the garbage. Considering between a third and a half of all the world`s food never makes it to the table more attention needs to Crude oil and liquid petroleum gas are undoubtedly be focused on waste. following a downwards trend and this all means higher prices for running vehicles and operating food- The largest single contributor in the commercial and related businesses. Transportation of food stuffs is industrial sector is food service activities (e.g., cafes, also a contributing factor to increasing food prices. restaurants, fast food outlets). Regardless of all Undeniably, the negative environmental impact of current consumption patterns is increasing and food service businesses becoming more evident. Our planet will not survive if steadfastly refuse to this trend continues. First world countries may forget implement green changes that today nearly “1 billion people go to bed hungry citing high associated costs each night (Danielle Nierenberg, Worldwatch – Vision as the reason. Perhaps for a Sustainable World). World hunger, even in these organizations need to affluent countries, is a real possibility if dramatic take a closer look at what is change is not made starting today. Page 12 this very revealing data, many happening with the consumer. Page 13
  8. 8. WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS WANT as the price for economic opportunity” (Post & Altman, 1994, p. 66). Sustainability in the food service sector is no longer an option: it has become a necessity. In 2010 Unilever Food Solutions Australia commissioned a survey of 500 Australians. The report revealed that There is no doubt that nowadays there is a a whopping 80% of respondents want food service greater awareness of green restaurant practices operators to dispose of food waste responsibly and and improved nutrition. Quick service restaurants sustainably. Even more people (86%) wanted the are suffering from the effects of an increased amount of waste food reduced and 82 percent supported emphasis on healthy living and a distinct shift the use of recyclable away from saturated fats, heavy salt and packaging and materials. frozen foods. Restaurants known for their fast The survey also revealed that at least half of those surveyed were willing to pay more for meals in establishments which implement disposal plans and are committed to minimizing food waste. Sustainability in the food service sector is no longer an option: it has become a necessity hamburgers and deep-fried chicken are finding that they need to offer healthy alternatives to keep their doors open. Today’s restaurant visitor is knowledgeable and will go out of their way to get what they want. Media attention on issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease make diners think Australia will likely follow in the footsteps of other nations that now indicate this foods. This move toward healthier choices makes figure has reached as high as 81% and climbing. The smaller, local establishments offering fresh fare public “no longer accepts major environmental damage Page 14 twice about consuming soft drinks, sugar and fried very appealing. Page 15
  9. 9. Many restaurants now offer organic, freerange, “fair trade” or sustainable products in their businesses, such as Oliver’s Real Foods. Today you will see consumers go to great lengths to make sure the food they consume is pesticide and hormone-free which is no wonder considering all the media coverage of the long-term negative effects. For many restaurants, knowing where their fruit and vegetables come from presents a huge problem as fruits and vegetables are ordered in bulk from suppliers. The restaurant has no idea where the food originally came from, nor how it Page 16 was handled during production. When managers order they are generally do so through a catalog with very limited information. If carrots are needed one looks under vegetables checks the weight of the bag and the cost and that’s it. These carrots could be from the farm down the road or one across the globe and next week it could be different again. Bulk ordering also makes it difficult to establish just how fresh the produce is as it may have been stored in the suppliers’ coolers for days or weeks. Even after it is ordered it still must be transported to the restaurant. Consumers know it takes time to get this type of produce to the plate and it is also why they prefer restaurants that use local suppliers. This is also why green restaurants focus on establishing local food systems strategically connected to their restaurants. The green movement includes supplying healthy food and giving the consumer the opportunity Page 17
  10. 10. to choose products that treat animals, food workers and the environment fairly. Purchasing goods at the lowest price can have adverse consequences. meat and poultry quicker to fulfill consumer demands has led to many questionable practices that are now being re-examined. Restaurant chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King (Hungry Jacks), and Wendy’s, have announced plans to eliminate gestation crates from their pork supply chain. A global move towards reducing meat consumption to conserve resources plus a larger population of vegetarians means that the meat and poultry industries are definitely feeling the economic pinch of these trends. Parents are raising their children in a meat-free household Commercially raised chickens are kept indoors for all of their lives and they are slaughtered sooner than free-range birds or organic birds. Over 40% of Australian beef uses hormone growth promotants and has done so for more than 30 years (MLA Meat & Livestock Australia, www.mla.com.au). The need to produce more Page 18 and embedding the immorality of eating another living creature in the next generations’ mind. Scientific dated suggests that a plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, and nuts, is better for the body as it is rich in fiber, vitamins and Page 19
  11. 11. day per week. This is part of a global movement called “Meatless Mondays” that has received celebrity endorsements and a lot of media hype. A 2012 NPR Health Analytics poll indicated that 39% of meateating Americans have reduced red meat intake in the past three years. other nutrients. Vegetarians generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians do. Meat also requires much more land, water and energy to produce. Although statistics are hotly debated, some suggest it may take up to 11 times more total resources to produce meat than fruit and vegetables. More and more, those that eat meat are more discerning. They want the assurance of a safe product and are willing to accept a smaller portion to guarantee it. In response to these needs, many food service businesses also offer some or all meatless meals one Page 20 This trend is not limited to the US. Australians have also reduced their meat intake and meatless meals or seafood meals have risen in popularity. The Sanitarium Vegetarian Study done in 2000 indicated that 44% of Australians eat at least one meat-free Page 21
  12. 12. evening meal (not containing meat, poultry or fish) in a week and 18% reported at least three or more meatless meals. Part of this may be due to rising cost of meat, poultry and seafood. The market for organics also grows every year, with 75% of families in the U.S. families purchasing some organic products. In Australia organic beef sales jumped 111 per cent and lamb 64 per cent. Organic milk also showed strong growth even though it is notoriously expensive (Organic Food Market in Australia Grows to $300M, http:// au.ibtimes.com/commodities). The former president and CEO of McDonald’s in the US recently co-founded a business that aims to “do healthy food on a fast-food Page 22 scale”. The need to market healthy, sustainable and local food free of additives and GMOs is on every savvy business operators’ mind. Australianowned Freedom Foods is using Australia’s Customers need to feel empowered to make a difference in the world through their choices and that their choices create a long-lasting improvement in the quality of their lives. relatively GMO-free status as a marketing tool and consider it a huge competitive advantage. (news. com.au). “Nearly 100 per cent of the soy crop and 80 per cent of the corn crop in the US is GM modified,” said CEO Michael Bracka. There is also a strong push for “fair trade” products such as coffee and cotton clothing that have traditionally come from impoverished countries. Fair Trade seeks to ensure that producers of these products actually receive a fair amount for their goods. Consumers and businesses can identify products that meet their ethical values and that make a positive impact on the world. Sustainability is not just about making or growing things; it is about the fair treatment of everyone involved in the food chain. As well, sustainable products are used that use renewable resources Page 23
  13. 13. extremely durable and require less energy to grow NEW TRENDS rather than traditional sources for materials. Certainly, consumers are more aware of what each such as hemp and bamboo that grow quickly, are Educating consumers about the status of the food industry may well be the best way to decrease harm and force sustainability into restaurants. Consumer behavior has always played a strong role in what industry must produce if they are to survive. Two essential factors for successful sustainability have been identified as the customers need to feel empowered to make a difference in the world through their choices and that their choices create a long-lasting improvement in the quality of their lives. If food service venues are unable to provide the level of quality patrons desire they may well opt for buying food where they know what they are getting and then cooking at home. This more affordable consumer trend is a real threat to the food service industry’s revenues. restaurant is doing through the internet and social media connectivity. Diners can look for a restaurant on their mobile phone, read about customer experiences and even check out the menu before they decide to step through the door. New mobile apps allow users to scan a product bar code to determine if products are eco-friendly or not. Major multi-nationals like Nestle and Kraft have opened their vaults so the public can view the ingredients in their recipes. Legislation was presented to the California legislature requiring labeling on restaurant and take out foods which sparked a huge debate among food service companies and sustainable food proponents. Change is clearly in the wind. Mass marketing and big chain restaurants are increasingly being replaced for smaller local “authentic” locations. The need for a personalized transparent dining experience has never been more important. Obviously, we should be re-examining all of this when 55% of consumers believe that food production is on the wrong track (Edelman Insights, Field to Fork, 2012). Page 24 Page 25
  14. 14. In order to compete in increasingly difficult consumer market food service businesses must remain product innovation now plays a significant role in improving profitability in the food service industry competitive. Grant Thornton’s conducted a survey of CEOs in the Australian food and beverage industry. The message in Food for Thought is clear: product innovation now plays a significant role in improving profitability in the food service industry (http://qsrmedia.com.au). This product innovation is largely driven by the “green” movement seen around the world. New food trends are emerging in the hopes of enticing an ever-increasing population of particular eaters into eating establishments. Hyper-local foods are foods grown in house in unused areas of the food service business. Many restaurants have sported their own herb garden for many years but restaurants and institutions with space are taking things to a new level. Hyper-local farming is small-scale subsistence farming, meaning that you produce enough for your business without the use of fossil-fuel machines, the addition of preservatives, or the threat of pest infestation associated with long-term storage. Benefits of hyper-local foods include extreme freshness with food often ending up on the plate within hours rather than days, plus your money stays within your business. Page 26 Page 27
  15. 15. Other trends include sourcing locally produced wine, beer or spirits and homemade desserts. All of these products can be made with local ingredients and may also be unlike anything available on a large scale commercially. Yet another unique offering is artisan foods. Artisan foods are handcrafted in smaller batches and made with high quality ingredients. Popular artisan menu items include ice cream, cheese and bacon. A large array of plant-based protein alternatives can be found in the marketplace too. These proteins are 100% plant based, free of gluten, easily processed and ready to use just like meat or poultry when cooking. They can be cut into fillets, strips, chunks, cubes, or slices and require far fewer resources to produce. Whole grains such as quinoa, black rice and sorghum have moved into the spotlight as well as plant-based dairy substitutes made from rice, nuts or soy. Page 28 Catering & Institutions Much of the large-scale food supply for business is provided by the catering industry. This may include airlines, hospitals, nursing homes and educational institutions. Change is definitely in the wind for all facets of the food service industry when it comes to sustainability. Airlines Within NZ and Australia, airline catering is produced in central processing facilities. By using both cookchill and cook-freeze technologies they are able to produce between 8 to over 20million meals per year. These facilities operate under stringent quality control processes. In early 2001, Qantas established its own centralised frozen foods facility called Snap Fresh. It is located in the South East sector of Queensland and provides the airline industry with over 9 million meals per Page 29
  16. 16. year. The facility is state-of-the-art in its design and adheres to the highest food safety standards. This facility caters for many types of cuisines and can store large quantities of single-serve frozen meals. As a fully owned subsidiary of Qantas, Snap Fresh provides the airline with a range of high quality meals, including Asian, Western, Halal and vegan dishes. The airline customers can choose from a broad range of tried and proven meals or work • Multi-port Distribution and Usage - well- with the highly accomplished R&D team to develop established distribution using cold- unique, distinctive meals. chain logistics ensures widely available, consistently high quality meals made from The main advantages to this type of supply approach in the airline industry, and now healthcare sectors, are seen as being: • Quality & Consistency - an integrated supply chain and regular communication with growers maximises the benefits of seasonal supply to ensure consistent quality and value. • Flexible Menu - the medium-scale production fresh Australian produce. • Competitive Pricing - with existing base volumes secured, Snap Fresh leverages the benefits of economies of scale and a low cost production model. • Convenience, Improved Inventory Management and Reduced Wastage using Snap Fresh meals with a long shelf- process allows frequent menu changes and tailor-made meal solutions. Page 30 life can assist inventory management, reduce wastage and offer greater flexibility. Page 31
  17. 17. • Flexibility - the plant has been designed to The move from freshly cooked to frozen or chilled meals provide a range of packaging options, from also reduces operational costs. These include: bulk to individual serves, complete meals • 40% reduction in supervisory and management or component products to suit individual • 89% reduction in cooking requirements. • 72% reduction in ware-washing/cleaning • 45% reduction in cleaning One advantage of single or bulk serve meal is an expected 30% reduction in each facility’s carbon Hospitals footprint. For some of the larger older kitchens, this Hospital food service is changing in leaps and bounds. figure would be as high as 50%. This would represent Hospitals have a moral responsibility to serve good, significant value for hospital administrators and healthy food as they are in the business of getting people increased revenues for future growth for kitchens. well. Their practices have come under scrutiny in recent years and the need for improvement is evident. They are This move towards single-serve frozen or chilled in the business of healing people and good nutrition and meals includes sustainable compostable containers and compostable cutlery. This move to a compostable system also results in significant operational savings. These include: • Elimination of various equipment requirements including dishwasher and cooking appliances • Savings from the removal of dishwashing lines, space savings and more efficient meal reheating options • Reduces the indirect cost structures including cleaning, maintenance, crockery and cutlery. Page 32 Page 33
  18. 18. sustainability in operations are essential to effective These could include allergies, dietary restrictions, and hospital management today. overall health and patient preferences. An appropriate diet could then be generated that fulfilled both the Today, food service in hospitals is also becoming patient’s nutritional and dietary requirements and the a more personalized venture. The days of large patients’ preferences for particular types of food, where institutional kitchens are quickly becoming a thing appropriate. of the past. The demise of these massive kitchens means no more ticking off your meal selection on a Naturally, an optimum diet promotes recovery and could card and then waiting until your tepid meal arrives, reduce the time spent in hospital, thus reducing costs in despite the warmer. Meal preparation in many the long run. Malnutrition is said to contribute to many hospitals is now made-to-order right on the ward. adverse outcomes including lowering immunity, slower Food is served hot and fresh. wound healing, muscle wasting, and increased Nutrition Vision mortality. Inadequate This change in many hospitals has moved the nutrition prior to treatment traditional food service responsibility from simply and during a patient’s putting food on the plate to providing excellent recovery can lead to nutrition. Meals must be tailored for the needs of increased risk of illness and the individual’s health problems, physical condition a decreased quality of life. and sensitivities. With nutrition and hydration There is an industry push for mandatory dietary screening on admission to identify any risks. Page 34 being key components to achieving optimum patient Page 35
  19. 19. outcomes, as well being as the most common therapeutic intervention for all patients, it is essential that hospital food and nutrition services strive to A 2008 study conducted in Sidney indicated that the incidence of mortality after 12 months was 29.7% in malnourished subjects compared with provide patients with quality food and beverages. 10.1% in well-nourished subjects. Patients also Malnutrition in Hospital they were malnourished (Prevalence of malnutrition Malnutrition is not a rarity in hospitals. It has been suggested that as many as 40% of patients are malnourished in Australia (http://www. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC3084475). Only a fraction of these malnourished individuals are ever referred to a dietitian. Sadly, the degree of malnutrition in Australia is similar to other nations. There is a definite link between hospital malnutrition and increased mortality. Page 36 stayed in hospital an average of 6 days longer if and 12-month incidence of mortality in two Sydney teaching hospitals, 2008). Not only is there a problem with the quality of food but there are also problems with getting meals to patients. Studies have shown there are various reasons why patients do not eat hospital meals. Why Don’t Patients Eat? One of the primary reasons that patients do not receive the food they prefer is due to communication. Patients may not have sufficient language skills to communicate their concerns or preferences or may not be able to read at all. Other patients may struggle with disabilities such as dyslexia, motor impairments or mental impairments. While the rest of the food service industry has Page 37
  20. 20. embraced technology as a means of improving ordering and stock control, large institutions seem to be slow to do so. Inefficient ordering systems can result in delayed or incorrect orders which the patient will not eat. Traditional hospital kitchens mass-produce meals. Therefore, the menu does not take into account cultural differences or special needs such as vegetarianism or veganism. Patients are faced with the prospect of choosing between the lesser of a few evils if none of the items meet their preferences. Some simply choose not to eat at all. While restaurants are quick to recognize that we “eat with our eyes”, hospitals simply focus on getting the food to the patients. Mass production little effort spent on appearance and presentation. Even though the meal may provide the nutrients the patient needs they may not eat it if it looks bad. Meals may also be disrupted due to the workings of the hospital such as ward rounds by nurses, doctors’ appearances and tests and transfers that are not coordinated with food service. Patients’ meals may be unintentionally missed. Few hospitals have systems in place that recognize a patients’ individual medical condition with a responsive diet to match it. Consequently, meals may be prepared that a patient cannot eat. Plus, patients who require special help to actually eat are not identified on wards and busy nurses do not have time to help patients eat. There may also be breakdowns in communication between nursing, kitchen and dietetic staff on the wards so that the wrong meal is prepared or the it ends up in the wrong place. of meals can lead to rapidly prepared plates with Page 38 Page 39
  21. 21. Being a patient in How to Improve a hospital may be European trends in recent years have focused on enough to make increasing the quality of the intake of nutritious some patients food as being crucial for patients who are lose their appetite. recovering from the effects of medical or surgical Sharing a room procedures. Patients who receive good nutrition with a seriously may have shorter hospital stays, fewer post- ill patient or operative complications and less need for drugs contending with and other interventions. offensive habits can seriously In order to ensure the effective delivery of good impair a patients’ nutrition in healthcare facilities, a team-based caloric intake. approach has been developed. Caterers, kitchen staff, dietitians, nurses, doctors, ward Healthcare facilities are under increasingly difficult financial housekeepers and orderlies all have an important part to play burdens for staffing and patient care. Consequently, many health managers have not had the time or resources necessary to design the protocols hospital food services could be improved after required for proper nutritional standards and a decline in quality and bad press. Research policies. In addition, surveys have shown that there showed that a few changes could make a huge is low knowledge of nutrition among medical and difference to a patients’ mealtime experience. nursing staff and few resources for training. Page 40 In 2001, the British Government looked at how Eventually, the PEAT (Patient Environment Action Page 41
  22. 22. Teams) program identified the following as vital to providing proper food to patients: • Flexible menu providing patients with a greater choice of meals and easier to understand menus • Protected mealtimes guaranteeing patients have un-disturbed meals • 24-hour catering providing food any time of the day or night • Sustainability reducing environmental impact of food production • Nutritional focus for caterers and dieticians. In response, The Hospital Caterers Association set up a website that is packed with resources on nutrition, menu planning and guidelines (http://www. hospitalcaterers.org/better-hospital-food). In most of Europe the hospitals are managed by contract caterers supplied with meal/food providers and are moving to single serve chilled or frozen meals. Significant amounts of frozen meals (bulk and single serve) are produced by Tillery Valley Foods (TVF), Apetito and Anglia Crown. These are very large manufacturing facilities supplying foods all over England, Scotland and Wales. They supply Page 42 predominantly in bulk packs, however Compass (Contract Caterer) has started a single-serve facility (chilled) which is being optioned by TVF (Frozen) in single-serve manufacturing. After the report on Better Hospital Foods in 2002, food services in England has become focused on serving better quality and seen as a core part of the patient recovery process. Use of Compostable Products In the past, the use of compostable cutlery, containers, cups and bowls has been quite contentious. Today, they are being looked at in a new light due to new materials and an increased need for specialised packaging. Past experiences with inferior products has led to the development of new technologies. These new technologies were well-tested in non-health industries and have now been adapted to the food industry. They can have varied shapes, sizes, colour, texture, and rigidity to suit any requirements plus they are compostable (able to be fully degraded and safely utilised as Page 43
  23. 23. fertiliser within 10-14 days). These new products can be seen at www.biorenew.com.au. Currently, most of the food containers and food waste from hospitals and airlines ends up in the landfills. New containers are now made from a naturally occurring biopolymer called polylactide (PLA). This biopolymer significantly reduces the energy, chemical and human resource requirements of large scale dishwashing and is safe for the environment. These plant-based polymers perform well in both plastic and fiber forms so they are ideal for food industry containers. Industry leaders include BASF, known for their audio tapes in the past (http://www.bioplastics. basf.com/ecoflex.html) and Nature Works LLC for their development of “Ingeo”, a polymer made from plant sugars from field corn (http://www.natureworksllc.com). These new PLA disposables can replace existing polyethylene terephthalate-based items (derived from crude oil) in the healthcare sector. Their advantages are: • PLA is a renewable resource with a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in making the resin • Disposables do not require washing before composting • Opportunity for hospitals and nursing homes to create their own designs, providing flexible shape and textures to suit all packaging requirements In addition, accelerated aerobic composting can be brought about by naturally occurring microorganisms in 1 to 14 days. Special self contained, fully enclosed units on site control odours, PLA reduces greenhouse gas by 90% without the need for additional odour control apparatuses. The compost that is produced meets all regulatory standards and can be sold commercially or used on site by each facility. Page 44 Page 45
  24. 24. Biopolymer-based Disposables Technology Overview Institution Composting Basics With the accelerated aerobic composting process, moisture, temperature, oxygen and the initial carbon/ nitrogen ratio are monitored and controlled within ideal ranges for maximum microbial activity. The composted material is aerated by mechanical means Composting is defined as “the biological to ensure that there are no anaerobic pockets in the decomposition of organic waste materials to produce mass. The accelerated aerobic process is brought a stable humus or soil-like product.” Natural about by naturally-occurring microorganisms, which composting has existed since the beginning of time. consume oxygen and produce heat. It is a relatively slow process, taking twelve weeks to six months to produce a stable end product. Organic Once most of the organics have been metabolized, the material is left in a pile or row to decompose naturally. temperature of the composting mass starts to drop. Over time, portions of In the accelerated aerobic process, this stabilization the pile or row become so dense that air does not circulate. Obnoxious odours are produced. This is called the anaerobic (meaning absence of oxygen) decomposition process. This process can be sped up using special systems that can be used in any institution. Page 46 Page 47
  25. 25. begins to occur after approximately 7 days. The typical retention time for most institutions in the new technology is no more than 14 days, with new designs composting in 24 hours. From Plants to Plastic Containers, Packaging and Cutlery We start with an abundant natural resource, like plants, which can easily and efficiently be produced each year. Today’s technology allows us to isolate the starch from the other components of the plant and turn that starch into dextrose. The dextrose, or sugar, is fermented in a process similar to making yogurt to create lactic acid. Lactic acid is a naturally occurring material that gives the “tang” to yogurt and makes your muscles ache after a work-out. From lactic acid we create a molecule called lactide. We remove water, crystallize it and create the highperformance polymer – polylactide (PLA). This natural plastic is then used to make a variety of food industry items and is completely bio-degradable. Product & Applications These biopolymers are already proving themselves a success in many commercial applications such as in fibre and non-woven materials, films, extruded and thermo-formed containers, and extrusion and emulsion coatings. The biopolymer is a natural fit for many applications currently using polyester, polyolefins, polystyrene and cellulosics. With performance properties that span these materials, as well as its production ease, this biopolymer can offer cost and productivity advantages that constitute a competitive advantage for any institution. Most other packaging materials used in institutions are PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) derived from crude oil, a diminishing non-renewable resource. PLA is made using an annually renewable resource - plants. This plant-based origin results in 90% less carbon emissions. PLA also uses 67% less fossil fuel than a PET container of comparable size. This results in 90% lower greenhouse gas emissions in making the resin. Finally, any greenhouse emissions we produce Page 48 Page 49
  26. 26. in our production process are offset in other areas to ensure minimal impact on the environment. PLA packaging may be branded for large institutions too. Unique sizes or shapes may be modelled and the resin is ideal for most packaging requirements. Applications using this biopolymer can be clear, opaque, flexible or rigid. Biopolymer has similar properties to polystyrene including gloss and clarity. It also exhibits tensile strength and modulus comparable to hydrocarbon-based thermoplastics. Like polyester, biopolymer resists grease and oil and offers an excellent flavour and odour barrier. In addition, the biopolymer provides heat seal ability at temperatures equivalent to polyolefin sealant resins suitable for the re-thermalisation in the ovens or carts. Loading Process Continuous loading is possible so containers can be added after each meal is delivered from the kitchen. Temperature Control By managing oxygen, moisture and temperature, the 1-14 day retention cycle within the vessel. The process creates heat so the equipment must regulate the temperature within ideal ranges. When temperature probes sense that the upper limit of the set point of any one of the three temperature zones within the hospital system is reached, the supply fan for that zone is triggered. The loading zone is set to promote thermophyllic composting and to ensure that composting materials remain above 55 degrees C. A set point of 52-54 C is used in the unloading zone for optimal biodegradation. This degree of temperature control, combined with in-situ mixing and proprietary moisture management, enables a 1-14 day retention cycle. The resulting compost meets all regulatory standards and can be sold or used at each of the hospital gardens. aerobic composting process is accelerated to create a Page 50 Page 51
  27. 27. Education Yet another great advancement is in education. Major colleges and universities throughout the world now offer undergraduate programs and certificates in different areas of sustainability in response to an evergrowing need. As young students already recognize that the global industrial agriculture system is the No. 1 consumer of fossil fuels, the need for education to prevent problems such as global warming and the expertise to develop feasible sustainability plans is vital. Educational programs focus on important subjects such as local food production and marketing, Awards with competitors vying for one of the top 50 positions in the world. The guidelines are stringent but placing in the top 10 is also very prestigious as the entrants are literally from any and every country around the globe. Soon diners will be able to search any establishment on the worldwide web and know whether your organization is green within seconds. Food Costs Rising costs are actually a very good reason to farm-based education and public policy and advocacy, move your business towards sustainability. Most Many local, regional for non-profit authorities all food items that are are also establishing the criteria necessary to be dubbed a “green” business. Within recent years, the first international restaurant rating system was established through the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). This means that diners can match their sustainability priorities to a suitable restaurant wherever they are in the world. Competition is already fierce for the SRA Sustainable Restaurant Page 52 restaurants today are effectively paying twice for wasted. First, they must purchase the ingredients and then they must pay for the disposal of the waste. It has been estimated that by reducing food waste by a mere 20% a restaurant would save substantially Food costs will steadily rise on waste collection costs. Page 53
  28. 28. A 20% reduction would mean a very substantial In 2012 the US experienced the worst drought 4,000 kilo reduction in waste each year. (Too Good to seen in 25 years which virtually wiped out the Waste, SRA 2010). corn and soybeans crops of the Midwest food belt. According the USDA, this led to a series of It has also been suggested that rising landfill taxes problems such as increased seed costs for the and transportation costs will soon make it more devastated crops, increased costs for animal economical to compost food waste on site or have it feed and consequent price increases for meats collected for composting or anaerobic digestion than and animal-based products. (USDA , Economic to send it to landfill. Biorenew can provide machines Research Service, 2012). In Australia, the that can handle from 2 kilos to 20 tons of waste incidence of drought followed by heavy rainfalls per day. Added to this is the fact that raw meats is projected to increase under climate change and vegetables are skyrocketing in price. Climatic (Australian Government, Dept. of Climate Change, changes have impacted our food sources already. 2010.) Naturally this all leads to higher food costs. The 2007 Australian drought saw an increase of up to 43% for fresh fruits alone. This upward trend is expected to continue each time we experience unpredictable weather and each time the consequences are more severe. Many ranchers have given up because their grazing land has been wiped out by wild fires or floods or feed costs are more than the meat is worth when it makes it to market. Page 54 Page 55
  29. 29. Considering the unpredictability of our weather and the strains on the agricultural sector, it makes WASTAGE absolute sense that food costs will rise steadily. If you work in the food service industry you already Labour, energy, water and transportation costs add know just how much ends up in waste bins each day to the costs of your raw materials too. Once the and it’s enough to make you cringe. A University of valuable commodity of purchased food reaches the Arizona study in 2005 estimated the total food loss door of your establishment it should be maximized, per day amounted to 49,296,540 lbs (225,605,000 not wasted. Sustainability practices implemented kilos) for full service restaurants and 85,063,390 lbs now make sense to secure your business for what (385,553,514 kilos) for fast food restaurants. Almost may be an increasingly difficult market. Clearly 90% of materials in Australian food service bins were this is the last thing the food service needs as it is recyclable including compostable food and packaging already suffering due to a lagging world economy. (Sustainability Victoria, 2005). Price wars have erupted between major chains in For years there was debate about just where all this hopes of securing whatever profit they can from a waste was coming from and whether or not anything more frugal health-conscious consumer. Market could be done about it. Everyone conceded that share battles between competitors has dwindled an wasted food cost their business money but most already damaged profit margin. Food service has thought that the majority of this waste was post- erupted in convenience stores and new businesses production and in the hands of the diner. It turns out eager to snag their bit of the market continue to this is not true at all. appear, regardless of the drop in revenues. The restaurant and food service industry is in crisis. It`s a dog eat dog world out there but the food industry is service is the Sustainable Restaurant Association only now starting to respond Page 56 One of the leaders in the fight for sustainable food (SRA) based out of the United Kingdom. Their Page 57
  30. 30. surveys and policies 90% of materials in Australian food service bins are recyclable will have travelled many have far-reaching miles over several days implications and many or weeks before they end restaurants worldwide up at a restaurant. Most seek their endorsement fruits and vegetables travel as “sustainable”. The around 1,500 miles before SRA recognized that one they reach a restaurant. of the principle areas of First world diners demand contention in the food foods when they want them, service industry was how regardless of the season. waste was produced. As a result, in 2010 the SRA There is loss of meat and conducted a Food Waste poultry too. Meats must Survey that revealed 65% of food waste comes from preparing food before it is served be trimmed and portions some very interesting facts, some of which were are lost due to fat and gristle. Bones and skin may be rather unexpected. removed from poultry. Meat and poultry can shrink Preparation Wastage considerably in the cooking process especially when mass-produced and hormone fed. The majority of waste in food service is not from consumers but from preparation. Approximately 65% of food waste comes from preparing food before it supply with demand. While a diligent manager and a is even served. Raw vegetables must be prepared good inventory system can track consumption daily, by peeling and chopping away discoloration or weekly, monthly and yearly, no system can take all spoilage. Many vegetables received from suppliers Page 58 Then there is the ever present challenge of balancing the variables into account. Changes in weather, local Page 59
  31. 31. events, construction detours and employee errors be stolen by light-fingered employees; food can be can all result in excess food in the cooler or on the handled inappropriately, poorly prepared or stored shelves. If you talk to anyone in the food service incorrectly and spoiled. Large enterprises such as business they will tell you that there is no rhyme cafeterias in educational facilities or large buffets in or reason to why one day can be insanely busy hotels need multiples of all personnel including prep while the next is completely dead. There is simple staff and cooks. These businesses also need more no predicting when a customer will come in to eat. of everything; equipment, cooking oil, dry goods, Consequently, the food service industry must rely on condiments, seasonings and sauces. All of this must past trends for ordering. be calculated and if done incorrectly money and materials are wasted. As well, food that is open to the public rather than served on demand must be monitored for contamination and changed periodically. Stringent food safety procedures involve keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot, but never for long periods of time. Food must be disposed of if it drops above or below the acceptable temperatures and in most cases cannot be reused at all. More and more food service businesses are being required to For buffet, cafeteria and catering businesses there is the added problem of the large menu. Large allergies. Prepared foods which inadvertently come menus require large inventories to track and the into contact with suspect foods, such as nuts, must possibility of more things going wrong. Goods can Page 60 label dishes so ingredients are known to those with be thrown out. The threat of severe poisoning or Page 61
  32. 32. even death makes some losses from food disposal Unlike most businesses, restaurants often operate unavoidable and an absolute necessity. almost every day of the year and for longer hours than the standard 9 to 5 establishment. Fast food Pre-Consumer Waste and takeout restaurants generate mountains of Food service wastage is not only measured by the refuse for the landfill too and much of it is not bio- amount of food stuffs tossed out each and every degradable or not from a renewable resource. The day but also the resources used to actually put the quantities of food required for a smooth operation food on the table. Food service businesses require must be calculated, ordered and delivered. Food tremendous amounts of water and fossil fuels and must be prepped, cooked and served. An average their associated costs are rising drastically. Cleaning meal in a full service restaurant requires at least and preparing food and washing dishes and glasses three visits from an employee never mind the array alone consume vast amounts of fresh water, never of glassware, dishes and cutlery that must be mind toilet and hand washing facilities for diners. presented, cleared and cleaned. Plus most restaurants cook with oil or gas for fuel and are lit with hydro electric power. Plate Wastage Almost everyone has gone to a restaurant and been unable to finish all the food on their plate. Food service businesses require tremendous amounts of water & fossil fuels & their associated costs are rising drastically Page 62 Food service businesses often fill a plate with starches such as rice, potatoes or pasta so the customer never walks away hungry. The problem with this mentality is that the amount of food on each plate must be large to accommodate even the biggest eater. Many eateries will even bump up your portion to a gigantic size for just a small Page 63
  33. 33. charge. This unhealthy practice not only promotes food is leftover. Success is measured by the total of the over-eating and may be a contributing factor to daily cash out. This profit-driven, short-term mentality has the problems of obesity in the world but it also a great disadvantage. Approximately 30% of food waste epitomizes the saying `my eyes are bigger than my comes back from customers’ plates. stomach`. When we are hungry it is easy to order too much food and that excess food all too often ends up in the waste bin. Participating restaurants in the SRA survey produced over 1 pound (.48kg) of food waste per diner. Many full service restaurants also use over-sized plates which are deceiving. Patrons will order extra side dishes not realizing that 1 pound (.48kg) of food waste per diner Plate wastage is like throwing 30% of your raw resources into a waste bin that you could have used to produce a major portion of another meal. If the diner does decide to take the excess home, you must pay for the labour to package it and the packaging too. If they do not take it home you must pay to dispose of it. Plate wastage comes straight out of your profits. Spoilage Food waste also occurs due to spoilage. The food service the plate is deeper than it appears. handling regulations which include time limits on how long Once again, the leftover food usually ends up as foods can be frozen or how long they can be refrigerated wastage. A regular requirement for servers in chain after opening. Unexpected equipment problems or power restaurants is to “up-sell” to the diner offering them outages can wreak havoc on a kitchen. Food service an appetizer, a specialty drink and a dessert to businesses are required to monitor the temperatures of increase profits. Few managers are concerned if Page 64 industry must adhere to “best-before” dates and food their coolers, but when a rise in temperature is detected it Page 65
  34. 34. may be too late to salvage the 5% of food is classified as unusable when it could be used for othe purposes contents. Most restaurants Larger chains have better waste control measures in order in large quantities and if place and their rates are estimated to range between ordering is incorrect or there 5% and 7 % (To Understand Food Loss in American are fewer customers than Food Systems, 2006). anticipated food may pass its Local takeout chains can have food loss rates as high as 50%. usable date. On top of the expected food losses, fast food Even when food is stored restaurants must continuously pre-prepare food for correctly it may have to quick service. In addition, there are multiple items that be discarded. Meat or need to be made and they can only be retained for a vegetables can have uneven very short period of time. This system is only efficient colouring that makes them when there is a steady stream of consumers to eat the impossible to serve. Vegetables may be inconsistently food. If there is a lag in the number of customers then sized making them difficult to cook. Eggshells can be food must be discarded to ensure freshness. Some cracked presenting a safety issue. Baked potatoes restaurants throw out food after sitting for 7 minutes. may have black spots inside that are only seen when cut for presentation. Up to 5% of food is classified as Other restaurants also provide delivery service which unusable when it could be used for other purposes. relies on food getting to the client on time and hot. Takeout Wastage Clearly, this doesn`t always happen so the original order must be thrown out and the food must be made Fast food may involve several additional types of again. This double loss also doubles the labour and wastage on top of normal food service. Take out waste packing that is wasted. largely depends on the type and size of the restaurant. Page 66 Page 67
  35. 35. In fact, 57% of consumers would like to see more Many franchised takeout businesses depend on casual dining restaurants offer takeout (Sources of regional warehouses to restock their supplies. Takeout Food, 2006, Technomics). Undoubtedly, Consequently, restaurants have less onsite storage restaurants will offer more takeout as the demand is but managers are still faced with the challenge of obviously there. anticipating consumer demand. Orders written on paper can be quite different from physical boxes WASTE DISPOSAL arriving to be stored in a cooler and it is not unusual Naturally there have been improvements. The to find you simply movement away from non-compostable materials do not have enough such as foam containers and the implementation space. This can result in high losses of perishable foods. Growth in the takeout industry is strong and Prepared meals brought home increased 70% in the last 20 years of biodegradable garbage bags is definitely in the right direction but change has been particularly slow in the food service sector. Restaurateurs cite stiff competition and a poor economy as factors for not implementing “green” practices. Most owners look at these measures as unreasonable costs that are it does not appear not vital to business operations. This profit-driven to be slowing down. mindset is totally understandable but also rather Prepared meals brought home increased 70% short-sighted. in the last 20 years. Plus 30% of the population already eat out at least three times a week (NPD Eating Trends Survey, 2010). Busy lifestyles and reduced time at home make takeout a normal thing Legislation by municipalities regarding waste disposal indicates the trend towards sustainability is inevitable. with many families. Page 68 Page 69
  36. 36. Many cities do not have the land to handle the large The writing is on the wall when it comes to who will volumes of waste and are imposing hefty fees for bear the burden of the costs involved in food service access to landfills or are finding it necessary to “ship” waste. Local their refuse elsewhere. The problem is so extreme in and federal level places like New York City that they are considering governments are other alternatives such as garbage chutes leading obviously moving to treatment plants below ground. They estimate towards more their 6000 garbage trucks generate nearly 2 tons of stringent controls greenhouse gases every year and costs increase by of waste treatment a third every five years. Truck miles have one of the and some have greatest environmental consequences as they are not already enacted fuel efficient and consequently waste is compacted, legislation that lays the associated cost of waste in the loads are heavier and trucks are retired earlier. lap of the food service operator. The rising cost of gasoline and oil means that waste disposal fees will continue to increase. All these costs are Operators need to accept that green sustainable policies will not be optional in the near future. Proactive food service passed on to the user and in the case of a food professionals see the wisdom in starting now. service business these are substantial. Some By looking at what they are doing now that is localities fine businesses for unacceptable trash or unsustainable they can plan incremental changes that insist that special systems are in place for disposal of are both economically and operationally feasible. materials such as cooking oil or broken glass. The cost of disposing of restaurant waste is skyrocketing. Leaders such as Food Drink Europe have set a mandate to halve Europe’s food waste by 2020 and Page 70 Page 71
  37. 37. other organisations have similar goals. The cost towards a ban on these containers because of their of not going green is increasing rapidly. As well impact on the environment. These foam containers as being an environmental issue, there are clear are said to contain up to 57 by-products after monetary and social benefits. Everyone wants to incineration and some of these toxic chemicals have be happy and to feel that they are contributing to been seen to leach into food when reheated in a a greater good. Sound environmental practices microwave. They are also manufactured from a non- make obvious business sense if it contributes to renewable resource; petroleum. Lastly, they also happier, more productive employees, reduced contain hydrocarbons which are a threat to the ozone losses and a returning clientele. layer of our planet. PACKAGING Another major concern which revolves around food is packaging. Food must be packaged for transport both to and from the establishment. Packaging ensures that food arrives at its destination intact and unblemished and many improvements have been made for distributing bulk foods. However, much work needs to be done in the takeout food industry. While some green trend emerging around the world. This trend businesses have taken the initiative to re-evaluate involves revealing the carbon footprint data at the the types of containers passed on to consumers, point of purchase. A carbon footprint measures many still use non-bio-degradable products such the amount of carbon dioxide emitted due to the as foam takeout boxes as they are considered consumption of a fossil fuel plus all the restaurant less expensive. Many municipalities are moving Page 72 A 2012 QSR Magazine online article discusses a resources used such as electricity and packaging. Page 73
  38. 38. It is meant to help a reusable container in 2010 to replace their measure the impact foam ones which won them a greener packaging on the environment award. Many companies have also introduced PET (http://qsrmedia.com. bottles for soft drinks as they are made from post- au/toptrendsfor2012). consumer waste and have a smaller impact on the Although there is environment as they can be recycled again and no legislation in again. Coca-Cola went a step further and created a place at the time of bottle made from plant materials. Subway removed this publication, it is the paper between cheese slices saving 450,000 anticipated that many nations will insist on customers pounds of paper annually in the US alone. being able to check a business’ carbon footprint through labelling in the very near future. If a business does not use green practices their carbon footprint will be high and indications are that the new eco-savvy consumer will not buy their product. This new increased focus on packaging is for a very good reason. Packaging makes up almost all the remaining waste that ends up in our bins besides organic materials. Today 32% of our packaging waste is still made of plastic which is another petroleum-based non renewable resource. Recycling has reduced, but not eliminated, the amount of packaging that makes its way into our The fact that it is being heavily debated today landfills every day. indicates there is a very strong interest in implementing it in the future. Many large fast food chains have made changes already. KFC introduced Page 74 The development of new types of packaging is in direct response to our garbage crisis today. Page 75
  39. 39. Soaring waste management costs and rapid changes to waste regulations indicate that green packaging makes good financial sense for the food service industry. New packaging that has zero impact on the environment will likely be the norm in the nottoo-distant future. Products made from recycled paper, sugar cane products, hemp, and corn not only reduce our impact on Business owners will actually save money by implementing savings techniques while minimising climate change risk. A “green” business is the business of tomorrow and to ignore this would practice indeed. Cost savings and energy efficiency also come from renewable are obvious advantages but also consider that going resources. Foam, petroleum- “green” can offer you a competitive advantage and based products will not draw in new customers. Your existing customers remain inexpensive for long may feel more loyalty towards your business and considering the escalating Zero Waste Systems Many “green” restaurants are also handling much of their waste in-house as this reduces transportation costs and waste removal fees. This means that packaged must be organic in nature in order to be composted or digested. Packaging is essential in food service as it can maximize shelf life and be used to transport the finished product to its destination. Page 76 green are many and varied. be a very foolish business the environment but they costs of oil and gas. Clearly the reasons for going you will be ready for any new waste legislation that comes to pass. It just makes good business sense to go green. By using simple tips and tools you can start your business on the path to sustainability. Both your staff and your customers will feel better about dealing with your organization and you can have peace of mind knowing you are doing what you can to reduce your carbon footprint while providing a quality product. Page 77
  40. 40. BASIC PRACTICES TO START GOING GREEN customers so your power bill is lower but your cost The need to create a food service business that is You will still need to track all of your energy more in tune with the environment and the desires resources so you can measure the results of your of consumers is very evident. Many restaurants changes. These include water, electricity, oil or have taken the first steps in making their operation gas, waste and transportation costs. may actually be higher if your restaurant used more power to earn the same amount of revenue. more “metabolic”. This usually starts at the management level by officially involving them in the Record the date, amount and the consumption corporate commitment. If you are a small business for each separate resource in a program like meeting with your manager or staff to discuss what Excel and produce tables to show the pattern of lies ahead is a good starting point. consumption throughout the year. You will need at least a years’ data to get an accurate idea Track Your Usage of how the seasons affect your business so old As a food business operator you will need to know where you are now to know what the impact is when you implement change. Short and long-term planning involves goal setting, accountability and a game plan to achieve the desired results. There are limits to using the dollar value as the only way to track change as it does not reflect true consumption. One month you may have fewer Page 78 Page 79
  41. 41. invoices may need to be looked up and entered. Audit Your Operation Once you have 12 months of data, calculate Conducting an audit can be a complex, in-depth an average consumption rate for each of the process that exceeds the limits of this document but resources. This is your starting point for planning there are plenty of resources available to assist you what you would like to see happen in the future. if you run a large operation. Professionals can be This data also serves as a comparison point to employed to come on-site, identify your businesses’ see if there is improvement as you implement short-comings and prepare a very detailed report new measures over the months. for you. There are also many local and national organizations that can assist you in completing your You can also use these figures to look at how you audit. For most owners a thorough walk-through are doing when compared with the industry as a of the premises will give you enough information to whole and against your competitors specifically formulate plans. if you can obtain their data. Green companies are often very proud of their accomplishments and publish their statistics for the public and stakeholders to read. Many businesses find it wise to invest in sustainability software programs that make it easy to input information as it flows through your system. The software tracks the ratio of consumption to profit so you can get a true picture of what is going on in particular times of the day, week, months or years of your operation. Page 80 Page 81
  42. 42. Managers normally have an excellent idea about what are progressing towards these goals. There are needs to be done as they work in the business every industry standards one may follow for KPI’s (Key day and their input can be invaluable. Owners should Performance Indicators) but for small business ask their assistance in the audit process. The idea is a simple goal such as “reducing our electricity to record information about all areas of operation that consumption by 10% by the end of the year” may could be improved in your business. These may include be sufficient. The entire idea is to commit and upgrading your current systems, analyzing the types of track your progress. resources that are used in particular areas, recognizing the areas that are obviously creating a lot of waste and Prioritize documenting equipment or building improvements that No business has the need to be done in the future. resources to make the comprehensive An audit includes a review of mechanical and electrical changes needed to systems so have a technician on-hand to answer become completely any questions that may arise as you move through green in one fell swoop. the building. Chances are you will end up with an Identified tasks need to enormous number of things that need to be done. be prioritized and costs Set Goals and timelines attached to them. Some items Setting goals is critical once you have figured out the areas where you would like to reduce consumption be done first, such as replacing an appliance that and it is the only sure way to ensure the success of has come to the end of its useful life. Others can your sustainability program. Next you will need to have be implemented in steps or stages to reduce the quantifiable measurements that will show you how you Page 82 will obviously need to financial burden. Page 83
  43. 43. While energy-saving, environmentally sound WILL WE SAVE MONEY? measures abound, for most operators the Regardless of how good it is for the customer, simplest path is to start with the easiest or least employees and the environment, every owner expensive and move up to the more involved wants to know if sustainable measures actually projects. Each new system can be tweaked so it work. Many food service businesses have shied runs smoothly in the operation before introducing away from change as they believe that the costs something new again. Another option is to tackle are just too high. the projects that you believe will have the most positive return on your investment. If you water As suggested previously, the negative implications bill is through the roof, look at trying all the water of not going green are growing every day. saving measures you can first. Growing changes in customer tastes, increasing governmental controls on waste and higher waste removal costs all make sustainability a very viable method of reducing costs. After all, the bottom line is what determines if your doors will remain open or you will join the ranks of failed service businesses. Fortunately there are scores of case studies proving that green measures not only benefit the planet but your bank account too. Here are three for you to look at. Page 84 Page 85
  44. 44. CASE STUDY DRIFT BISTRO, PEREGIAN BEACH, QUEENSLAND CASE STUDY BROADFIELD YOUTH & COMMUNITY CENTRE, UK Broadfield Youth and Community Centre has reduced Peregian Beach Surf Life Saving Club is home to annual costs through improving energy and water Drift Bistro; an “a la-carte” restaurant operating seven efficiency and reducing waste. Energy efficient and days a week. As part of its eco-efficiency drive, the sensor controlled lighting and movement sensors were club installed more efficient lighting and tapware in fitted to automatically switch off toilet, corridor, reception the restaurant and other club areas, and introduced and external security lighting when no one is present, composting. The club also initiated recycling at the reducing usage by around 40% in each area. Sensors Sunday market that it coordinates in a park adjoining were also installed to control urinal flush frequency. the clubhouse. Uncontrolled urinals can often account for 70% of an organisations water use. Placing Save-a-Flush bags Annual Savings: in toilet cisterns has reduced water usage. Paper Energy savings of 59,329 MJ (8 per cent) towels have been replaced by hand dryers. Even with Potable water savings of 438 kL (28 per cent) increased electricity costs a substantial savings was Waste reduction of 13 m3 (12 per cent) seen and over a tonne of landfill waste was eliminated. Waste-water reduction of 382 kL (28 per cent). Annual Savings: Financial savings totalled $5,319 Electricity: 18,750 kWh, £1,875 Waste: 1.08 tonnes, £2,500 http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/sustainability/sector- Water: 538 m3, £958 guides/restaurants/case-studies.html#the_ship_inn_ CO2: 11.46 tonnes brisbane_queensland Financial savings totalled £5,300 http://sustainablebusiness.org.uk/case-studies/ broadfield-youth-community-centre/ Page 86 Page 87
  45. 45. CASE STUDY DARDEN RESTAURANTS, US The IHRA (International Hotel and Restaurants Association) Sustainable Hospitality Program 2020 sustainability in action, take a look at Darden annual average savings is US $19,600 per property that can be made Restaurants’ sustainability report 2012. from better energy and resource management. That http://www.darden.com/sustainability/ is money that you are currently throwing away in downloads/2012-gri-full.pdf. With 1,600 one form or another. If you want to see an award-winning leader in states that the restaurants in the US and over 180,000 employees Darden’s approach to sustainability is Clearly, businesses that act now will be ready to systematic and cost effective. Their report sums it handle whatever legislative changes come their up when they say: way, they will save money that their competitors are throwing away and they will have a competitive Our commitment to sustainability is marketing edge too. a central part of achieving our larger purpose..... We have worked to develop a more integrated and strategic approach to managing sustainability issues in our business knowing that we fundamentally rely on natural resources. Studying Darden’s report it is clear that big business has embraced sustainability because they have absolutely proven in works for them now MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS Naturally you will want to monitor your progress carefully. There are several elements that are essential to tracking how you are doing with your new measures. Your management will not only need to know what things they will need to change but how the end result will be measured. Successful projects follow these common standards. and in the future. Page 88 Page 89
  46. 46. Choose a limited your managers. They should know why it is not set of effective working and what might be done to change it. measures Once you are certain that everyone knows what Trying to do and when to use the new procedure or equipment, too much too move on to another change. quickly is not a good idea for several reasons. Tracking change Establish a schedule for regular reporting Reporting on progress can be as simple as getting takes time and everyone together for a monthly staff meeting or energy and if as frequent as daily tracking sheets. When you too many things are done at once then management decide on a new measure make sure that your will be faced with many additional tasks on top of paper trail has been planned. All employees their normal duties. These duties could include should know who does what on which form and reports, staff training, and changes to procedural when. Staff meeting or workshops may be needed manuals. Changing many things at once also adds to get everyone up to par. to confusion and an increased chance of errors. To have reliable results reporting must be done Try to implement one small measure at a time and consistently. When you choose the length of the monitor it to make sure it is being followed by all reporting period is should remain the same for at staff. If management encounters difficulties the least one year so that results can be measured measure may need to be tweaked so that it starts against the original data you amassed. If your to work towards the desired end result. Listen to Page 90 Page 91
  47. 47. previous data was reported on a monthly basis it Design everything with the new employee in is recommended that consequent data follow the mind. Include the title and departmental contact same timeframe otherwise you may comparing information so that if someone has a problem they apples and oranges. know where to go. Try not to use specific employee names as these can change and then the user has Regular reporting serves as a gauge to measure no idea who to call instead. Directing the individual how things are improving or not improving over to a department will help to cut through red tape in time. Leaving unfiltered data for too long can a big organization. This will also reduce rewrites in mean a huge mess to sort out and unnecessary procedural manuals or bulletins. revenues lost if the new measure is not performing are meeting at least the minimum expectations for Establish procedures for acting on problems identified the change. If management or other employees discover a as expected. Keep on top of it and adjust until you Develop report formats to communicate clearly problem they need to know what to do. This is particularly true when new equipment is purchased to reduce waste or improve efficiency in an area. Keep the information in your forms and reports New equipment normally requires large cash outlays simple and clear. Everyone should be able to look and a lot of revenue goes towards installation, at the form and know precisely what information retrofits and staff training. If the machinery is not is required. Avoid industry jargon or complex working as expected, employees should know language whenever possible. Remember that what to do. Every day that things are not working your forms or reports may be used by a wide range correctly is lost revenue. For large operations this of people with various education, language and can mean a huge loss in just a few hours. industry experience. Page 92 Page 93
  48. 48. Contact information can be as simple as a telephone You will want to number on the machinery or a manual with specific have a balance steps to follow. Emergency procedures need to be between tracking in place from the user to management so something key aspects of can be done immediately. Make sure there is your improved secondary contact information as well. If employees processes are authorized they may be able to call service versus placing companies to the site for repairs. undue burden Assess sustainability on a periodic basis on your management. You should see a steady Collecting information through reports, forms, improvement in the areas where you have meeting and conversations is an ongoing process. implemented change. Make sure you translate your waste reductions into revenue. Keep staff Track how staff reacts to the changes and log members in the loop regarding improvements in resource changes as new invoices arrive. If the waste reduction. They need to know that what they changes you have made are ineffective find out why. are doing is making a difference. They are the key Are employees avoiding the change as they have to the success of all your waste reduction plans and not been trained properly? Has a new container the need to motivate them to participate is of primary been put in the wrong location? Are people short- importance. cutting around the method because they do not see implemented in our improvement process, or have HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR STAFF the processes started to erode? Are the outcomes Before you can get your staff to participate, show the processes are intended to affect moving in the enthusiasm and maintain waste reduction changes the purpose? Are we still using the new processes desired direction? Page 94 Page 95
  49. 49. in the workplace you must have a solid vision and a strategy in place for your business. Employee’s need to know what direction your establishment is taking and how they fit into the picture. This is fundamental to the success of your entire program because it can’t be done without dedicated workers. Green programs are often started by enthusiastic employees who establish a committee and take the such as daycares or gymnasiums. Once you have your corporate sustainability vision in place you can now focus your energies on understanding what sustainability means to your staff. Surveys There are many ways to find out what your workers want and one of the best ways is to ask them. Surveys initiatives on themselves. Green teams are a regular feature in businesses’ sustainability strategies. They will organize and plan and report to management about that they see as the businesses’ needs. In the beginning, a basic green program may be nothing more than buying a few recycling bins and nagging workers to use them. Facilitating employee-led initiatives is an excellent way to show initial support. Employee awareness can also be developed through informal staff meetings, newsletters and discussions. However, a comprehensive sustainability program is much more. Successful green businesses not only focus on waste reduction but a better workplace for their employees including better benefits, flex time, equipment for telecommuting and on-site facilities Page 96 not only allow you to poll your employees about sustainability issues but you also have an opportunity to find out about their attitudes, likes and dislikes. Many businesses conduct surveys asking workers to identify what they see are the important things that could be done to reduce waste. These surveys Page 97
  50. 50. are also a great way to narrow down what staff Brainstorming members consider worthwhile results of a good Your employees are the ones on the frontlines and sustainability program would be. Issues such as full- they know more about your business than you time employment status, better healthcare plans or a know. Bringing workers into planning process is a clothing allowance are all rewards that can be used wonderful way to ensure success. Employees that to motivate workers to get with the program. Tangible have made suggestions that are later implemented benefits aren’t always expensive for the company but know that their opinion counts for something. They they are extremely important to the workers as they can monitor progress when a change is put into make them feel valued. Employees that are happy action and suggest methods of altering a method if it at their jobs perform is not working well enough. better and therefore increase productivity. Good productivity something sounds feasible or not. Barging ahead means increased with your own ideas without bringing staff together revenues. This cycle is not only arrogant but bad business. Modern of benefit works for business models embrace employee input and all parties involved; many companies have made huge revenue savings the company saves from the staff suggestion box. money, the harm to Brainstorming sessions are the latest version of the environment is reduced and employees feel more the suggestion box. They are free-for-alls where involved and loyal to the company plus they know everyone just throws their ideas in the pot. There that they are helping to protect the planet. They are cannot be any judgement no matter how crazy an then eager to take on new change as they have seen idea might sound but if someone does have a good positive results in the past. Page 98 In short, they will be the ones that will know if idea steer the energy in the room towards it. Have Page 99
  51. 51. a whiteboard or blackboard available and write it all as their commitment as a company to reduce waste. down. Nearing the end of the session go through a It is the primary way those employees know, other reduction process and get the ideas down to a few than monetary compensation, that they are valued. strong suggestions. Summarize the results and let If the company is willing to invest time and money workers see how this information is absorbed into in their improvement they feel loyal towards their your action plan. employer. Training Not all training takes place in a classroom. Training employees may well be the most important Growing methods of training are work shadowing factor in guaranteeing the success of your or mentoring. Both of these techniques require sustainability program. In order for training to be a seasoned employee to instruct a new inductee effective it must be tailored to the individual and in the subtleties of the position and because they appropriate for the savings measure. Sustainable are on the frontline together they can incorporate businesses take training very seriously as untrained sustainability measures right from the start. employees waste resources and consequently waste If an employee is indoctrinated into green measures revenues. Considering the high costs involved in during the training period they will consider it a part food service equipment and staffing the money spent of their normal job and there will be no problem on appropriate training is never wasted. with waning enthusiasm over time. They will take Training can be as simple as calling everyone responsibility and will be accountable for their together and showing them how to load the new actions. dishwasher or as complex as sending them on intensive, costly off-site courses. Regardless of the level of resources required, training serves to show small groups can be instructed at one time. They the company’s commitment to the employee as well Page 100 Workshops within the company are also popular as are very participatory and the attendees must work Page 101
  52. 52. towards a specific solution by the end of the workshop. As the workers actually must do the work they are more likely to retain what they learn and understand why it is important. Workshop leaders can be those within the company already doing this type of work so into easy to use modules to allow work and study to mesh. Information may have visual, audio and hands-on components as it has been proven that retention is higher when varied methods are used. Employees can qualify for higher positions as they advance through the company’s training plan and obtain certificates or degrees in house. Many businesses will reimburse employees for courses taken at community colleges or universities if the course will help the employee attain a better position. Employee reviews now include the vision the employee has for their future in the company and steps to help them achieve it. Helping workers become better at what they do is a win-win situation they can answer specific questions and pose unique industry challenges for attendees to solve. The days of the boring classroom course is falling by the wayside. The food service industry is seeing more internet-based instruction now too. Trainees log onto a company server and walk through a course step-by-step and from anywhere they wish to study. Work is normally divided Page 102 as employees stay longer at their jobs. The high cost of indoctrinating staff makes efforts to make staff happy even more sensible. Ultimately, the challenge for businesses is finding ways to continuously re-engage employees on sustainability. Clearly this is a lot easier if each of your employees has a reason to do so. Thriving modern business invest resources in Page 103
  53. 53. substantial recognition and awards programs too. These rewards aren’t necessarily monetary. Some pioneered the standards for green restaurants. Their employees are motivated by the opportunity to website is full of useful information to help you make use the hours your business green. http://www.thesra.org/ more flexibly while others The NSW Sustainability Toolkit – Hospitality is an appreciate social excellent publication which outlines all of the major recognition. areas necessary to address the reduction of waste Increasingly in your business. http://www.nswbusinesschamber. businesses com.au/NSWBC/media/Misc/Policy%20Documents/ realize that there Sustainability-Toolkit-Hospitality.pdf is a high cost if one does not Unilever Food Solutions offers a free toolkit for the food invest in their service industry complete with sample forms and reports people. Workers you can use to start tracking wastage. http://www. who are unhappy unileverfoodsolutions.com.au/our-services/your-kitchen/ find someplace work-smart/wise-up-on-waste else to work and constant staff turnover means higher expenses and The Green Restaurant Association provides excellent lower customer satisfaction. information on how to establish a long-term plan for waste reduction in order to receive green certification. OTHER RESOURCES The Sustainable Restaurant Association are leaders Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry - Principles in providing information on sustainability and have Page 104 http://dinegreen.com/restaurants/standards.asp of Sustainable Operations, 2009: Philip Sloan, Page 105
  54. 54. Willy Legrand and Joseph S. Chen. http://www. programs available in your area. Governments offer sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780750679688 many incentives to help business go green because it is in their best interest as well. Sustainable Food Service provides industry specific Colleges, universities and many service industry information on food service issues such as fats, oils organizations now offer many sustainability and grease as well as kitchen equipment. http://www. sustainablefoodservice.com/res/gov.htm An excellent step-by-step online program for establishing sustainability work practices http:// sielearning.tafensw.edu.au/MBA/Sustainable_ hospitality/documents/13065/documents/bsbsus201a/ bsbsus201a/index.htm Green Table Australia offers a green certification program to help restaurants on the path to sustainability. http://www.restaurantcater.asn.au/file. php?id=1467&open=yes programs and training. Training staff to manage your resources well makes good business sense and it will If you are anticipating that you will have to purchase undoubtedly be a requirement in the future. new equipment, do retrofits for sustainability or will be building new structures in the future make sure that check for local and national grant and subsidy Page 106 Page 107
  55. 55. WHAT SHOULD I CHANGE IN MY BUSINESS? Even though we are all involved in the food service industry it scope is large and there are many different types of business within it. Your business may face challenges that are unique to your specific segment of the industry. the cost thus reducing the initial production cost of the oil, the transportation costs for shipping and the waste removal costs for bulk recycling. These restaurants also face the formidable challenge of presenting their takeout food in an attractive manner that does not involve petroleum-based containers or large amounts of packaging. The push towards packaging made from renewable resources is stronger than ever and makes good long-term business sense. Eco-friendly packaging has dropped in price so expense is not the issue today. Often we stick with what is familiar rather than exploring new options. Quick service restaurants may find that they need to find new technologies to help them deal with the oil or fat from deep fryers. While oil collection at restaurants is quite commonplace nowadays, new technologies exist that recycle grease and oil on site for a fraction of Page 108 The chain restaurant business model must deal with evaporating profit margins due to competitive price wars. Growth in the fast food industry is guided more and more by the fact that 80 percent of consumers want healthy food that tastes great and fits into their budget. Page 109
  56. 56. Conversely, a high-end gourmet restaurant may income and dine out less frequently. In a very elite waste many resources because of its exacting market the loss of just a few percent of patronage can standards. Meat and produce must be of the best have disastrous consequences. quality and anything less is loss. Many top end restaurants are now implementing strategies to use In college and business cafeterias and buffets, large off cuts for sauces and stocks, sourcing meat, fish menus mean large wastage. Many cafeterias have and poultry from sustainable sources and limiting eliminated trays so people can only take one plate. their menus to reduce the quantity of ingredients required in their kitchen. On-site gardens and Regardless of what type of food service industry you dehydrating equipment ensure fresh vegetables and participate in there are ways to reduce waste. Below fine dried herbs for even the best cuisine. are some changes or additions for you to consider in your business. Since you are the one tackling this High-end restaurants face the very real problem that challenge you should also have a very good idea of their customers do not have as much disposable what will work in your business. The ideas provided here are just a starting point and more help is always available through local, regional or federal authorities. Some areas have representatives that will visit your business and provide you with a written report with all of their recommendations. No two businesses will be the same so it is important you develop a written plan with specific components so that your efforts do not go off track or lose momentum. Page 110 Page 111
  57. 57. practical than a large complicated one. You cannot In- House Changes Better stock management, menu flexibility, portion sizes, seasonal awareness and many other elements need to be addressed when one wishes to reduce waste in a food service business. Authentic A growing nexus of restaurant and food service entrepreneurs are filling the gap between restaurant chain offerings and what the customer wants by offering Forecasting Spending extra time to analyze the trends in customer consumption is well worthwhile. Proper forecasting helps you to assess what items are sold more than others and if the items on your menu are worth keeping. Forecasting also takes in account seasonal variations to your menu and celebratory holiday events. Customers tend to eat less heavy foods in the summer and more substantial meals in the winter. Wise business owners analyze their menu items and remove items that cost too much to make or do not turnover quickly enough. A small well-prepared menu is far more Page 112 please everyone so try to do what you do well. “authentic” food at an affordable price. In a food market that has been subject to brutal competition, these businesses are flourishing and winning eco-conscientious diners as a result. Smaller Portions A recent trend has been to reduce portion size for meals because so much ends up in the waste bin. Many food service businesses employ a technique known as the “Delboeuf Illusion”. This involves putting smaller portions on smaller plates, thus creating significantly less kitchen and plate waste, without causing the Page 113
  58. 58. Staff Participation Besides normal procedures such as stock rotation, menu planning and smaller portions, business owners need to engage their employees as soon as possible in their sustainability plan. Starting up a green team is a good way to initiate change as employees are customer to feel cheated about their serving of food. Try to offer different portion sizes to cater to a variety of appetites. Selling a portion bigger than one can eat costs you money. Not only does a good part of your raw material end up but you must pay labour to box it and purchase takeout containers too. You can also offer second portions as an alternative to putting too much on one plate. Only the biggest eaters will take advantage of this offer. Make customers aware of the part they can play in reducing food waste – promote your good work and set an inspiring example. Page 114 included and they are Star t a “Green Team” also the ones that see where improvement could be made. Post signs have informal staff meetings and train staff in new equipment and procedures. Focus on Stock Control Fine-tuning your menu and ordering process includes considering how much storage you have and how quickly your food stuffs will be used. High stock levels mean money sits in your cooler or pantry rather than in your bank account. Too much stock can also mean items will spoil before they can Page 115
  59. 59. be used. Limiting Reduce Preparation Waste the ingredients used Good menu planning includes considering in your menu is a preparation time and the waste involved. Try to good way to prevent serve vegetables with skins or jackets on where this. Even if one item possible as this reduces labour and parings. does not sell, another containing the same Try to re-use what ingredient may. you initially thought of as scrap by New Technologies implementing them in Many new technologies and products are available other products. Meat today that can help you to reduce the amount of off-cuts can be used waste that ends up in the landfill. for stews or pates. Bits of fruit can be There are compostable, used for fruit salad or fruit coulis. Tired vegetables bio-degradable products make great soup stock. Try to utilize every part of made from renewable the food possible. resources that can reduce your carbon Reduce Spoilage footprint. Check out Work with suppliers to get produce delivered www.biorenew.com on the right day for your menu. Keeping large for some cutting edge solutions. Page 116 Zero Waste Systems quantities of food on-hand to meet demands is not only costly but risky. Page 117
  60. 60. Make sure items are stored correctly, perishables are properly labelled and dated and that staff use Waste Bins It makes good economic sense to sort waste proper stock rotation techniques. First in, last out correctly the first time. Investigate what the local is the rule-of-thumb in the industry. Try to use requirements are regarding types of waste and reusable glass containers rather than petroleum- set up your bins accordingly. Make sure staff based plastic or plastic film wrap for storage. Check uses the bins correctly and that food waste is and correct fridge temperature and clean fridges separated into the appropriate bins. regularly to ensure they are working efficiently. Do not send organic food waste to the landfill. Do not prepare large quantities of food ahead of Set up an on-site composting area or arrange for time. Try to make items on demand. Get wait staff collection to a composting or anaerobic digestion to “up sell” dishes that contain items that will be facility. Purchase an in-house digester. going out of date soon. Page 118 Page 119

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