Foodservice operators can support sustainability in many ways

By Anna Skyttä

Most people are probably familiar with the concepts of sustainability or controlling the climate change, and the awareness on these subjects increases all the time. So far it seems – at least to me – that the media emphasizes the carbon footprint of traffic or travelling, and to some extent the carbon footprint of habitation. The fact is, however, that the environmental effect of food is approximately as big as of traffic and habitation. The Consumer Association in Finland organizes a Food Waste Week every year with the aim of getting the consumers to pay attention to food waste – as the most of it is generated in households – but the professional kitchens play their own role with regards food waste, as well.

There are around 1 million restaurant locations in the United States preparing roughly 200 million tons of food yearly. One quarter of food is wasted in restaurants and other food service operations. This includes food waste generated when preparing food as well as food waste from the leftovers both by the kitchen and by the customers. This means that around 50 million tons of food is wasted yearly in the restaurant and foodservice operations.  When you take that down to a shorter time span, 150.000 tons of food is wasted each day in the United States.

The previously mentioned wastage figures are prone to give you goosebumps, and not only because a tremendous amount of food is wasted, but also in that sense, that the wasted food costs a tremendous amount of money. And at the end of the day, the consumer pays the bill as all the costs are included in the menu prices.

Reducing the amount of food and ingredients wasted is one significant way to reduce the environmental effects of food. In addition, the CO₂ values of the ingredients used have their own effect on the carbon footprint. When producing or preparing food, production planning and the right kind of efficiency support sustainability, as well.

 

Food waste in the foodservice operations comes just partly from the leftovers on the plates

You could easily think that the leftovers on the customers’ plates is what generates food waste in restaurants but in reality a lot of food waste is generated in the kitchen, for example extra food prepared which cannot be utilized again. So, in the professional kitchen, you should consider your operational policies and how they effect on the amount of food waste. And maybe the leftovers on the plates could be reduced with smaller portions…

 

Recipes and ingredients generate one part of the kitchen’s carbon footprint

In general we know, that animal based foods have higher carbon footprint than vegetable based foods. However, the role of CO₂ values for individual ingredients is not defined before you build a recipe of several ingredients with the chosen measures. The carbon footprint of a recipe can be at a reasonable level even if it included ingredients with higher CO₂ values, if the amount of them is not too big and the recipe includes more of ingredients with lower CO₂ values. In addition to this, you need to consider the impact of the portion size and furthermore that the role of the CO₂ values for individual recipes most often are not defined before the recipe is part of a meal. So, at the end of the day you end up with menu planning.

A system is an essential tool when calculating CO₂ values for recipes and menus. The CO₂ values for all food ingredients are available in JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System. The program automatically calculates the CO₂ values for recipes and meals, and it includes comparative values based on the average emissions for different types of meals (snacks, main courses, desserts) which makes it easier to interpret the figures. Not only does the JAMIX system help the kitchen manage their carbon footprint, it also provides the option to publish the CO₂ values of the menu online to the end customers. This enables the customers to make their own choice and influence the carbon footprint of the food they consume.

 

Menu planning is a tool for reducing waste of both prepared food and ingredients

Menu content and how it corresponds to the customers’ needs is obviously one significant starting point in menu planning. Keeping the amount of different meal options at a reasonable level makes the work in the kitchen easier and it helps in controlling food waste, as well. When planning your menu, in addition to appropriate portion sizes you should consider adapting the amount of portions to the amount of diners expected.

A system is a great tool for menu planning, as well. You can easily update your menu options, if needed, and you can easily change portion sizes and the amounts of portions – and the program will automatically take care of all the essential calculations. You can register information on the sales in the system, and utilize that information when planning future menus. The unique Food Bank functionality in JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System enables you to manage food that is prepared in advance in the system. The program takes the quantity registered in the Food Bank into consideration and calculates automatically how much food needs to be prepared in addition to the food that is in store. All these functionalities help you in optimizing the amount of food to be prepared and further control the wastage of prepared food.

The system calculates a shopping list based on the menu and together with inventory management functionalities helps in optimizing the amount of ingredients to be ordered. You can register traceability information in the system and monitor for example the use by dates for the items in store, which helps in preventing food waste caused by outdated items.

 

Support sustainability with production efficiency

Running production efficiently saves time and money but efficiency is related to environmental friendliness, as well. In addition to time and personnel, unefficient operations can use too much ingredients or energy.

A system makes the work in a professional kitchen easier and more efficient. The unique Mobile Recipe in JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System enables the handling of recipes in production for example on a tablet instead of a traditional printout on paper. You can print all the recipes including instructions with the chosen amount of portions with the production sheet functionality. And here printing means also printing on the screen, so it is possible to work without any paper. When the instructions are clear and the quantities accurately calculated, you can prepare the food efficiently and you will have the right quantity of it.

 

State of Restaurant Sustainability

Read more on restaurant sustainability in the United States on a report by the National Restaurant Association.

 

Sources used in this post:

National Restaurant Association

The Guardian

Statista

Updating information in real-time allows restaurant operations to act quickly

by Ron DeSantis

Volume 2 Issue 9
September 2019

CulinaryNXT
200 Totoket Rd
Branford, CT 06405
203-415-9190

www.culinarynxt.com

Come On, Already!

One would think choosing orange juice in the supermarket would be a simple task. Think again.

One brand has 11! varieties. Original, Homestyle, Grovestand, Calcium + Vitamin D (No Pulp), Calcium + Vitamin D (Grovestand), Low Acid, Heart Healthy, Healthy Kids, Antioxidant Advantage, Vitamin C + Zinc (No Pulp), Vitamin C + Zinc (Some Pulp), and this list doesn’t include the orange juice blended with other juices!

I wonder, is nature’s original orange juice not up to the task any more?

Cheers!

Master Chef Insights

Temperature & Time

Cooking is all about temperature and time.

I’ve been cooking food for many years and this statement becomes clearer each time I prepare something. Generally speaking, low temperature will require more cooking time, and conversely high temperature will shorten the cooking time.

The next factor to consider is the food. Now the simple statement, “temperature & time”, becomes intricate. Understanding the structure of what is being cooked allows the cook to apply temperature and time. A whole “beer can chicken” will cook at a moderately high temperature for a longer time than marinated zucchini planks. Both foods will use moderately high temperature, but time varies. I am convinced that once the properties of raw ingredients are understood, temperature & time can be accurately dialed in.

Accurate temperature & time will result in better tasting food that is more nutritious. Another quality characteristic is consistently delicious food. Consistently delicious food is the goal in professional kitchens. It doesn’t matter if the operation is a restaurant that changes the menu daily, or the military on a cycle menu, consistency makes happy guests.

How to implement temperature & time starts with accurate recipes. If you are an operator, take the time to document temperature & time when preparing foods. Record that best results and the worst. Then repeat the process. YES, it’s hard work! I never said temperature & time was easy, I said it was best. If you use recipes, look for reliable sources AND test once again. To support the temperature & time process have a calibrated thermometer to check the food’s internal temperature, and record that. If the food is slow cooked, have kitchen fork on hand to test for tenderness. Always capture the information and update the recipe.

The process will provide your operation with consistently high quality, delicious food.

Culinary & more…

Kitchen Tech – Kitchen Proof Scanner

Believe it or not, this scanner can withstand chef handling.

And it is a very useful inventory management tool. This handheld computer is very robust, and scans supplies for efficient inventory control. It then uploads to the Jamix Kitchen Intelligence System for accurate inventory management. Chefs and managers who in the past have spent hours with a clipboard and inventory sheets can now speed things up. This scanner can take the impact of hitting the floor, it has a gorilla glass front (sounds cool), has a 2D bar code scanner, Bluetooth connectivity, and operates on Android platform. The beauty of this tool is, point the scanner at the bar code and you’re in business. Here is useful technology designed for a rough environment with easy-to-use connectivity to the kitchen intelligence system.

Updating information in real-time allows restaurant operations to act quickly. The restaurant management team has current and accurate information to make decisions. Look for this type of technology to streamline kitchen operations and allow the team to focus on guests.

Links

Here are a couple links. One has my insights to using naan as an ingredient.

The other highlights recent awards garnered by Attention Span Media. The Team at Attention Span Media “analyze problems, identify opportunities, create scenarios, and build solutions.” And they are a great group of pros to work with.

Naan is a superior bread for small bites (www.nrn.com)

25th annual communicator awards (www.attentionspan.com)

Ingredient of the Month

Roasted Peppers

Something so simple and abundant is so incredibly good! Roasted peppers are last summer’s gift to the flavor of summer all winter long.

Peppers are in peak season right now. They are CHEAP. So, what are you waiting for? Buy a basket full of peppers, fire up your grill, lay the peppers on until black, let them cool and slide off the black char. The result is deliciousness.

Make a lot of roasted peppers and put extra in ziplock bags, then freeze for a flavor burst later in the year.

Cooking Tip

Deep-Frying

Summer is a great time to deep-fry….outside.

Deep-frying creates that craveable crispy texture to foods. I love frying a few pounds of potatoes into chips seasoned with salt and smoked paprika. These are the “bet you can’t eat just one” kind of chips. Fresh fish with a fried to a crispy golden panko coating is very satisfying!

When done properly, fried foods have a crispy coating and a tender moist internal. Furthermore, properly fried foods are not greasy. Non-greasy fried food is a result of clean cooking oil, proper temperature, and the right amount of food added to the fryer. The right amount of food is one of the critical steps to great fried food. Too much food and the oil cools. When the oil cools, extra oil is soaked up by the food’s coating. This results in greasy food.

Having a table-top deep fryer is the easiest way to fry food. The next method is to use a pot of oil with a thermometer that will read up to at least 425°F. Once the temperature is set/achieved for the type of food being fried, get cooking.

One last note: fried food is best eaten immediately – crispy and hot!

Bon Appétit!

CulinaryNXT is a food service advisory practice drawing on Ron DeSantis’ 30 years of experience in all facets of the food industry. Ron is one of only 70 Certified Master Chefs worldwide and has advised organizations of all sizes and types. His strengths include culinary innovation, menu and recipe development, culinary assessment, bottom-line results, and communication skills that allow him to implement solutions  effectively.

CulinaryNXT’s base is in New Haven, but its reach is truly global. CulinaryNXT’s relationships extend to numerous countries around the world in a client and alliance network that has been built over many years. These relationships provide both global support and local knowledge.