Aramark Works To Reduce Food Waste

About 30 percent of food in the U.S. is wasted. In 2010, 31 percent of food waste translated to 133 billion pounds of food worth $161 billion. Food waste is the single largest component of trash in municipal landfills. Food sent to landfill gives off methane as it rots, a greenhouse gas with a warming potential 23 times that of carbon. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.

Aramark is one company that works to reduce its food waste, as its Food Waste Progress report shows. The company has a goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, and it has reduced food waste on average by 12.5 percent. It has reduced food waste on 161 sites by 44 percent and avoided sending 479 tons of waste to landfill since 2016. Composting is one way to reduce food waste, and Aramark composts at many of its locations. Organic waste is diverted from landfills by partnering with clients and local waste haulers.

Another way that Aramark is reducing food waste is by tracking waste. All of its food locations track waste with its food management process which it uses to set standards to make sure the right amount of food is ordered, is prepared and served in a manner that limits waste, and tracks what food is left at the end of the day. In addition, 500 of its largest accounts use tracking technology provided by LeanPath, a company that helps commercial kitchens prevent food waste by using food waste smart meters. LeanPath’s smart meters track food waste in real-time and offers insights to decrease waste. Aramark will expand the use LeanPath’s smart meters across its other locations.

Other measures include donating 100,000 pounds of food the past year to local non-profit organizations who feed those in need.They have reduced food waste on 161 sites by 44 percent and avoided sending 479 tons of waste to landfill since 2016. The company partners with the non-profit organization, The Food Donation Connection (FDC) to connect with community organizations. The FDC identifies local organizations that are approved by regional health departments and most need food donations.

Engaging customers can reduce waste. In 86 percent of Aramark’s university residential dining halls, students are encouraged to not use a tray. Trayless dining reduces waste by almost two ounces per person because people are less likely to take extra food that they will not eat. Trayless dining also conserves energy and water and reduces the use of cleaning chemicals. The company uses its Green Thread consumer marketing materials to share the progress it makes toward reducing food waste with its consumers.

Industry wide change is something Aramark wants to see occur. It has been a member of the  Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), a collaboration of the National Restaurant Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association, and Food Marketing Institute, since 2013.

As more companies follow the lead of Aramark, less food will end up in landfill, which will mean less methane entering the atmosphere. It’s a win-win for the planet and its people.

Photo: Aramark