In the UK, more than 50 percent of an average restaurant’s food ends up in the bin as “food waste.” This includes food that is left uneaten, unused or discarded. Over the last few decades, minimising food waste has become a major priority as the foodservice industry looks for ways to reduce financial costs and its environmental impact.
The origin of food waste varies from restaurant to restaurant, and the culture of a kitchen makes a big difference in this area. Factors such as over-preparation, underutilising food scraps and trimmings and improper storage all contribute to food waste. According to neconncted.co.uk:
“The average spend on a three-course pub meal is £14.48. Six per cent of this amount (97p) is immediately stripped from this total to account for avoidable food waste, before overheads like wages, utilities and maintenance are removed.”
Even if your restaurant doesn’t track its food waste, there are some simple methods kitchens can use to reduce food waste and save money.
For food storage, remember that dark, cool spaces are best. Never store food in direct sunlight. The humidity levels should remain lower than 15%, and food should be stored in moisture-proof containers. This not only protects your ingredients but helps prevent spills.
To best protect and store your food, utilise shelving that’s at least six inches off the floor. Include thermometers and hygrometers to track temperature and humidity levels.
Use the FIFO Method
To prevent food spoilage, use the first in, first out (FIFO) method. With this method, food that has been stored the longest should be used first before it goes bad. Keeping up with a strict organisation method is key in effectively executing this method.
NCCO offers several products to help implement the FIFO method. For example, our FIFO bottles and kits feature a valve dispensing cap as well as a top cap, which allows for consistent proportions every time.
The ingredients that enter the bottle first are the ones that are first used. With traditional bottles, the product at the top of the bottle is often reused while the product at the bottom goes unused.
Proper labelling is the cornerstone of food safety. It tells kitchen staff important information, such as how long a product has been in the restaurant, when something was cooked and when it’s time to replace certain products. Every well-functioning kitchen should have a labelling system for all of its stock. This helps staff find what they are looking for and sets a marker for when items need to be reordered.
Labelling options you might include in your kitchen might include shelf labels, day-of-the-week labels, “use first” labels and more. Some labels come with special features, like the ability to easily dissolve in water, which protects your reusable containers.
Properly storing and labelling food in a kitchen is essential in preventing food waste. For more labelling solutions to help your restaurant stay organised and cut back on food waste, visit our website and check out our food safety products or our DateCodeGenie® automated labelling system.