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Minimising Food Wastage in Commercial Kitchens

Food wastage is a huge problem worldwide.  Find out here what food services can do to minimise this.

We all know food wastage is costly and want to avoid it whenever possible.  There are many reasons for having food wastage in a commercial kitchen and just as many ways to reduce it.  Often this is not as easy as it sounds due to many unforeseen circumstances, the most obvious being customer number fluctuation.  However in many cases wastage can be minimised by careful planning and a good knowledge of how to use ingredients.  

Catering food waste comes from a number of sources, and is produced for a number of reasons.  The main reasons are:

  • Food preparation residues e.g. vegetable peelings, meat trimmings
  • Over preparation of food which does not get sold and can’t be re-used or frozen
  • Excessive portion sizes which are not entirely consumed by the customer
  • Spoiled and out of date stock due to over-ordering, mishandling, package failure and mismanagement of stock
  • Used cooking oils

Below are some tips to help you avoid food wastage:

Often hospitality businesses will try to minimise food wastage by purchasing premade products that can be stored frozen and in most cases are cooked for service by deep-frying.  While this can reduce wastage we believe there are better ways to do this and create a point of difference from your competitors.  Often these products can be baked or grilled from frozen and produce an equally good result.  You may also want to consider making bulk lots and freezing some meals in portions.  Many simple stews, meat balls and bakes can easily be re-heated without affecting the quality

-Use suitable vegetable trimmings and bones for making stock

-Use perishable ingredients in multiple menu items in different ways

  • You are more likely to use the ingredient faster and therefore can buy it more often so it will be fresher
  • If it doesn’t get used up in it’s freshest form in say a salad for example you could have a dish in which the ingredient is cooked
  • Pay attention to what waiters are bringing back into the kitchen, and remove or minimize foods that customers do not typically finish.

-Order the minimum amount of stock often rather than bulk amounts infrequently and rotate stock regularly

-Carefully check food deliveries for contamination, damage, use by dates and temperature of fresh foods

-Label and date food upon delivery and store at the appropriate temperature in clean and dry environments.

What to do with waste:

In some centres around NZ there are organisations that will distribute surplus food from hospitality businesses to hungry people in the community.  If you have leftover foods that are still fit for consuming you can contact: