Sustainable Bowl

Every Day Should Be Stop Food Waste Day

Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month may be behind us, but at Compass Group, we believe every day is an opportunity to focus on reducing food waste. Even our COO, Rick Post, recently shared at the FLIK Expo that he believes every day should be Stop Food Waste Day saying “It’s not just about reducing food waste one day a year, but about embracing it as a philosophy.” And this philosophy shows in Compass Group’s priorities.

Check out our Q&A with Julia Jordan, Director of Sustainability for Compass Group to hear more about our sustainability standards and our plan for a greener planet: 

Julia Retouch

Can you speak to the evolution of your role and the role of sustainability within Compass Group?

Sustainability has always existed at Compass Group in some form. In the last five or six years we’ve seen an uptick in guests and clients who are interested in sustainability. It is no longer viewed as a trend.

Consumers are becoming more aware and passionate about where their food comes from, how it is raised or harvested, how the workers are treated and how their choices impact the planet. The younger generations especially want to spend their money with companies that stand for something and positively contribute to society and the environment. In addition to responsible sourcing initiatives, our clients are increasingly becoming concerned with their waste streams and how single-use plastics are affecting the environment.

What is the number one sustainability priority for Compass Group?

Reducing our food waste is the number one priority for Compass Group right now. We have been driving change from the inside out with a landmark commitment to reduce food waste by 25% by 2020.

Stop Food Waste Day (SFWD) is our international day of action which has ignited a global conversation, creating awareness about the food-waste crisis. This year, SFWD was celebrated on April 24th in over 37 countries and is endorsed by celebrity chefs like José Andrés and Tom Colicchio, the National Resources Defense Council and Save the Food. Cities around the U.S. have also proclaimed April 24th as Stop Food Waste Day.

The White House has further elevated our efforts, by acknowledging the month of April as Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month, supported by a historic interagency agreement between Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). We recently announced our long-term goal to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 by joining the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 group and aligning with the United Nations waste reduction agenda.

We are honored to use our scale to influence change and encourage others within our organization and beyond to be more mindful with their food.

Do these priorities apply to the individual sectors like FLIK? If yes, how?

Absolutely! As the world’s largest foodservice company, it’s our responsibility to create meals with little to no waste. Adopting a root-to-stem cooking philosophy not only reduces the amount of food waste going to landfill, it just makes good business sense. Our sectors are on the front lines of fighting food waste and are instrumental in helping us meet company-wide goals. Envision Group has created a toolkit of resources for our sectors to tackle food waste from all angles, including waste guides, videos and online training for staff, zero waste recipes as well as the back of house tracking tool, Waste Not. It takes a multi-pronged approach and all associates working as a team to be successful in reducing food waste.

What is the one thing a foodservice company can do to make the most significant impact on reducing their environmental impact?

Foodservice companies really must prioritize reducing the amount of food that they are wasting. This is a global issue with alarming environmental, social and economic impacts that affect all of us. The world wastes or loses about a third of what it produces while the number of food insecure people continues to rise. If we just saved 25% of what is wasted, that would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people around the world. When food is wasted, all of the resources that went into growing that food get wasted as well. Food waste contributes the largest volume to landfills and potent greenhouse gases get released into the atmosphere when food decomposes in a landfill.  Even small changes can make a big impact.

How does communication about sustainability in the café impact outcomes? Have you seen that marketing makes a significant impact on behavior or is it better to change the environment or is a combination of the two needed? For example, if you are encouraging someone to choose china over disposable, is it better to relocate the disposables, market the importance of china over disposables, or a combination of the two?

To successfully change behavior in the café you must have a combination of the two. You need to alter the guest’s environment and have a robust communication plan. If the goal is to encourage guests to use reusables over single use disposables, operators have the make the right choice the easy choice. By placing the single-use disposables in hard to reach areas or even behind the line so that the guests have to ask for them, and having the reusable items readily accessible, you’re making it easier for customers to do the right thing. It helps to also explain the reason behind the changes through various communications.

Giving guests digestible pieces of information about why it’s important to use reusable items over single-use disposables is crucial to shifting the behavior. They need to understand the “why” behind the change and that it’s for an important cause, and not just to make their lives more complicated.

What is the one thing an individual at home can do to make the most significant impact on reducing their environmental impact?

Everyone has a part to play in reducing the amount of food they waste.

A typical family of four loses around $1500 a year by wasting food which is staggering. By meal planning, reducing portions, shopping more frequently, buying in bulk and getting creative with leftovers people can reduce their waste and save money!

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What We Were Talking About in 2018: Lebanese Tabbouleh

At FLIK Hospitality Group we believe in great food, great service, and great people. Our wellness first approach ensures our food supports healthy and delicious choices, specially curated by our team of culinary experts and registered dietitians. At FLIK, we believe in seasonality in sourcing our ingredients and providing a customized approach to the culinary and hospitality needs of each client. Our dedication to providing quality hospitality service is unparalleled in the industry.

Have feedback or questions for our team? Email us at flikblog@compass-usa.com.

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