It’s no secret that food waste in the United States is a huge problem: for both businesses and people. According to NPR, “as much as 10 percent of the food a restaurant buys ends up in landfills.” From a business perspective, 10% of food thrown away drives up operating costs for the restaurant and translates directly to the bottom line. From a people perspective, this food is thrown away despite the millions of individuals in the US facing hunger and food insecurity.
While a lot of the food waste that happens in restaurants is inevitable (like when a customer is unhappy with their order and sends it back), restaurants can minimize it by ensuring all produce and other food products are properly stored. Over the next month, we’ll talk about best practices for different types of food that your restaurant may use. To get things kicked off, here’s three tips for storing produce safely:
1. Store Produce at the Proper Temperature
Storing food at the proper temperature is an imperative for keeping produce fresh and out of landfills. The FDA mandates that food be stored at or below 40°F. Refrigerators tend to fluctuate in temperature throughout the day, so taking two measurements a day probably isn’t enough. To improve how you’re monitoring refrigerator temperature, try an automated temperature monitoring solution to save time and receive alerts when temperatures are getting too warm.
2. Keep Incompatible Produce Far Apart
Certain types of fruits and vegetables emit high levels of ethylene gas as they ripen, and can accelerate rotting in other, ethylene-sensitive produce. For this reason, certain fruits and vegetables should never be stored together. Eat Right offers a great infographicthat lists several incompatible produce types, but Google is a great resource for determining how to store any food you’re not sure about!
3. Consider Investing in a Food Waste Prevention Platform
Sometimes solutions to eliminating food waste in restaurant kitchens are not so obvious. Luckily there are amazing food waste prevention technologies like those offered from Leanpath that provide data-driven solutions to reducing food waste in commercial kitchens.
These tips are a great start, but produce isn’t the only food item that commonly gets wasted in kitchens. Our next post will give you tips on how to properly store poultry and meat, some of the most expensive ingredients in the fridge.