Wasted food costs commercial and retail food service operations $30 to $40 billion per year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And data from LeanPath, a Portland, OR provider of automated food waste tracking systems, shows that four to 10% of the food purchased in high volume food service operations is discarded as waste before reaching a customer’s plate (due to overproduction, trim waste, spoilage, and expiration).
Conducting a waste audit is the first step in planning a food waste management initiative. One of the services LeanPath provides is a Waste Audit, which involves the foodservice facility renting a ValuWaste Tracker, and related equipment, to record food waste at their organization for a specified period of time (in weeks or months).
To use the Tracker, the food handler places the waste on the scale and answers several questions—What food is being discarded? Why it is being discarded? Which pan/vessel is being used (to deduct the tare weight)? The data is then exported with a USB drive to LeanPath’s ValuWaste Advantage software onto the manager’s PC. Based on the findings, the LeanPath team then provides guidance on reducing waste.
There are two approaches to the LeanPath Waste Audit—one is designed for volume foodservice, and the other is geared to independent restaurants.
- The volume foodservice package involves: Short-term rental of Tracker touch screen terminal & scale; Support and guidance planning the audit; Up to 12 customer-selected summary reports delivered as PDF files; Microsoft Excel or Access export of all data
- For independent restaurants, the waste audit involves: Short-term rental of Tracker touch screen terminal & scale; Standard audit instructions; and five standard summary PDF reports.