GAITHERSBURG, MD — It's the oldest story in the business book: You can't manage what you don't measure. But with an announcement of the results of a new pilot project, Sodexo is showing the truth of that truism when it comes to food service.
By simply tracking and monitoring food waste on eight college campus allowed Sodexo employees to trim the amount of food sent to landfill or compost by about 30 percent in the kitchen alone.
The project uses technology from LeanPath that allows employees to input data about what food is being discarded and why. The data collection allows Sodexo to learn what's leading to spoilage -- or what food is being unnecessarily thrown out -- and make changes to the kitchen to reduce spoilage, overproduction and other wastes.
"Our people have been vigilant about preventing food waste at these sites demonstrating they are extremely good stewards of the environment," Tom Post, Sodexo's president of campus and education services, said in a statement. "The pilot results show it's possible to send less waste to landfills and to reduce costs without compromising the quality or variety of the food we serve."
With Americans wasting at least 27 percent of all food produced, there are huge benefits possible in cutting food waste down. Making changes in the kitchen, so that excess food is neither produced nor wasted, is a good first step, and one that food service companies like Sodexo can have a big impact in.
In order to address the other, larger source of waste -- diners -- Sodexo earlier this year launched an education program called "Stop Wasting Food," which ties food waste to climate change.
A study published in October tied the excessive amount of food waste to about 350 million barrels' worth of oil, and found that oils, dairy and grains were the most commonly wasted items, with meat, legumes and nuts being the least-wasted.
Photo CC-license by *Florian.