As we move into the holiday season, there are many opportunities to reduce food waste as an individual — like reducing portion size and sharing an abundance of baked goods. Take some time this holiday season to reduce your waste, and be encouraged that even individuals can make a change!
These past two weeks in food waste news bring us hope that large players, such as large grocery chains and leaders in the hotel industry, are paying attention to food waste and taking active steps to tackle the problem at its root.
Robinson Fresh Misfit Produce
In 2016 Robinson Fresh created the Misfits produce line, a key step towards reducing agricultural food waste. As its name conveys, “Misfits” produce is any fruit or vegetable that is misshapen or a slightly different color than most American shoppers expect. This produce is still fresh and full of nutrients; they just look a little different. Not only is Robinson Fresh helping to reduce the amount of food left to rot in agricultural fields, they are also providing a market for farmers to sell their previously ‘unsellable’ produce at a lower cost to the consumer. What we have is a win-win: “Misfits” are a win for reducing the amount of waste of perfectly nutritious food and a win for the farmers in having a market to sell their perfectly nutritious produce. The win also extends to the consumer as they can buy these nutritious fruits and vegetables at a lower cost. As consumers are becoming more concerned about food waste, we hope to see other retailers develop programs like the “Misfits” produce line so that fresh produce never gets wasted. Read more here.
Cutting Back in the Hotel Industry
Last March, the American Hotel & Lodging Association commenced an experiment to reduce food waste in the hotel industry. Ten hotels participated in a 12-week experiment using various waste reduction strategies, such as low-waste menu planning, customer engagement, and staff education. Each hotel reduced their food waste by at least ten percent with many also decreasing their food costs. In conjunction with their results, the hotel association released a toolkit for food waste reduction that other hotels can implement. A significant part of their approach is applicable at all levels of the food chain and encourages valuing food more, creating awareness around not letting food go to waste. Read more here.
The use by, sell by, and best by labels may be confusing for consumers when purchasing and preparing food. Since there is no regulation of these labels, organizations in the UK like WRAP, the Food Standards Agency, and Defra, have come together to develop a standardized labeling system for all food products. While this system is voluntary, the hope is that all food businesses, large and small, will back these efforts to reduce food waste. Read more here.
By Alaina Spencer, Food Writer