0 comments on “Food Waste: Think. Eat. React.”

Food Waste: Think. Eat. React.

OVERVIEW

 “If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of global warming” (Frischmann, 2018). It is no secret to anyone that food waste, especially in the U.S., is a major problem. Every year, $210 billion is spent on food that is never eaten, amounting to 52 million tons sent to landfills annually. Another 10 million tons are discarded or left unharvested on farms. Yet, one in eight Americans (estimated 49 million) are food insecure. 

Food waste not only has social and economic implications, but also environmental. As 40% of food in the United States goes uneaten and sent to landfills, it contributes to 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. When the food rots in the landfill, it starts to release a chemical known as methane that is known to be “25 times more powerful than CO2” (Vogliano and Brown, 10). Only about 3% of the food in the U.S. is actually composted. 

disposal-dump-garbage-128421

But food waste is not generic. Companies, consumers and countries contribute to food waste in different forms. In developing countries, for example, most food waste occurs before even reaching the market. Some reasons include inefficiency in transportation, equipment, packaging and storing the food. On the other hand, developed countries contribute in a larger extent to food waste once it has reached the consumer level. Big contributors are businesses such as grocery stores, institutions, catering departments and restaurants. Grocery stores specifically generate an absurd amount due to “cosmetic imperfections, expiration dates, damaged items and food returns” (Otten, 4). Other sectors such as restaurants generate due to “food trimmings, planned overproduction, spoilage and food served that customers do not eat” (Otten, 4). 

According to the National Resource Defense Council, “if we are able to just rescue 15% of the food waste in the U.S., we could save enough to feed 25 million citizens” (Move For Hunger). Surprisingly, consumers waste the most food compared to supermarkets and other businesses. 43% of the food waste occurs at home, equaling a loss of about $1,300-$2,200 for a family of four every year (Move For Hunger). Moreover, wasting food affects the environment not just from the gases that are released but also from the unnecessary excessive use of resources – 21% of fresh water, 18% of cropland, and 19% of fertilizer used to produce the food wasted.

biotechnology-bright-chemical-207585

SOLUTIONS

As a community, we need to start working together to reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills. Because solutions vary from corporations to restaurants to consumers, we’ve provided a general view of what solutions can be implemented in order to tackle this issue. 

For Businesses (grocery stores, catering departments, corporations, restaurants, organizations): 

  1. Improve data on food loss to estimate how much is being thrown away and how much should be bought 
  2. More accurate forecast demands based on consumer purchases to only bulk those items who sell the most
  3. Connect with organizations that provide surplus food to local shelters, after-school programs and other non-profit organizations.  
  4. If you are part of a company that caters often, partner with a catering service, like FoodtoEat, that knows how to portion correctly.
  5. Educate consumers on what the difference is between “use by” and “sell by” dates, on how to decrease food waste with more efficient storing methods and on how to better reduce, recover and recycle. 
  6. Invest in new technologies that can lengthen shelf life of fresh meat/poultry/fish, can delay the ripening of fruits and vegetables during shipping and storage, and monitor food waste in large communal kitchens to reduce costs. 
  7. Find creative ways to sell or avoid wasting food that has been mislabeled, bruised or overproduced.  

For Consumers:

  1. Move older food products to the front of the fridge so you remember to eat them!
  2. Take your restaurant leftovers with you and refrigerate them. That way, you don’t have to spend money on your next lunch at work. 
  3. This is going to sound weird, but check your garbage. Not to pick the leftovers, but to know what food you are tossing regularly so you buy less of it. 
  4. Compost excess food if you have a terrace or lawn. This will enrich your soil and help decrease greenhouse gasses. 
  5. Meal prep! By knowing what you have in your fridge, you know what you are missing in order to buy. 
  6. Most importantly, embrace the so-called “ugly” fruits and vegetables! They have exactly the same minerals, vitamins and nutrients as those more pleasing to the eye. This is BY FAR one of the biggest issues with major grocery chains. 
  7. Freeze! Freezing food is the best method to not let it rot. For example, those leafy greens that seem to soft for your salad are perfect to be put in the freezer for smoothies. 

black-and-white-black-and-white-giving-2346558

THE BOTTOM LINE

Food waste is a big challenge, but there are already numerous companies investing in technology to combat this battle as well as individuals taking action. Addressing this problem is beneficial for our communities, our bank accounts, our health, our soil, and individuals with very few resources.

While we need all possible solutions to be implemented in parallel, our daily decisions on how we produce, consume, and purchase is the most important contribution. We, the consumers, are the most significant cause of food waste (Robbins, 2018) since our way of thinking triggers companies’ actions. For example, if we demand more “ugly” products in our supermarkets, these chains will start promoting more and wasting less of them.

That being said, individuals being the main cause of food waste can be seen in a positive light. If we want to improve the ecosystem that surrounds us, we can change our decision making process to make businesses and organizations act quicker and smarter. In fact, we can all start today…

References:
0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Two Boots”

Vendor Feature: Two Boots

We had the chance to interview Leon Hartman one of the owners of the oh so popular chain Two Boots!
Why did you want to own / run a restaurant or catering business?
To make the world a better & more delicious place.
What sets you apart from all the other caterers in your cuisine?
Two Boots is on a mission to bring organic, healthy, vegan, gluten-free & Cajun! food to the masses, and we pair it with a family-operated, homemade touch that incorporates lots of local art, hosts community events and provides a place where folks from all slices of life are welcome.
What is your personal favorite dish on the menu and why?
It’s hard to beat The Bayou Beast, our flagship Cajun-Italian pizza – it’s the best of both boots. This pie is loaded with spiced shrimp, crawfish, andouille sausage & jalapeños. Bring it on!
What is the background story behind the opening of the catering business?
We know that Two Boots is beloved across all segments of society, so we wanted to get ourselves in a position to serve more of our customers, to provide our amazing pizza to all kinds of special events – from the corporate conference in the penthouse to the kids’ birthday in the park, from the community arts center fundraiser to the green room at the Guns ‘n’ Roses concert. There is a lot of opportunity for us to make an impact, and we’re excited to turn more people on to our unique menu.
What is the most enjoyable part about your business?
That’s so easy – seeing people happy! Nothing is better than a fresh pizza pie, paired with a pitcher of beer or soda, shared with friends & family.
What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Executing on our commitment to serving wholly distinctive premium pizza at an affordable cost.
What is the biggest challenge you have over come in the restaurant/catering industry?
The online/ordering services that act like they’re helping you but only actually cut into your business. Our numbers clearly show that it is a losing game for established small & medium-size restaurant business owners to participate in the online marketplace. Sure, they can help you out when you’re launching your business/brand, but for a company like ours, with 30 years of success (mostly pre-internet), it is mainly just an operating loss to use these services.
Advice to anyone thinking about opening their own restaurant.
 
Have a strong stomach!
0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Bon Chovie”

Vendor Feature: Bon Chovie

Bon Chovie brings affordable seafood straight to your office. When Renae Holland, Owner, was tired of her 9-5 she started Bon Chovie at Smorgasburg. Fast forward 6 years and now we can bring Bon Chovie to your office. See what Renae had to say about Bon Chovie and how you can have them catered for your next office meal.

Why did you want to own/run a restaurant or catering business?

I love food! It makes me so happy to see the enjoyment on a customers face who is loving what they are eating.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?

Usually, seafood is a big, and quite pricey adventure in dining – we make it fun, easy and casual while maintaining exceptional quality.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

I’m a huge fan of the crab mac and cheese.

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?

After running  my business at Smorgasburg for 6 years, I was offered to take over a restaurant space, and jumped on the opportunity!

What is the most enjoyable part about the restaurant?

We have an amazing staff, and great food – winning combo!

What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?

Providing a quality product with a smile.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in the restaurant/catering industry?

The long hours and stress can be very difficult – I stay dedicated to spending time in the gym to keep me centered.

Advice to anyone thinking about opening their own restaurant.

Have a unique product, maintain quality standards, and be prepared to work harder than you  ever have in your life!

Contact us at catering@foodtoeat.com to book your next catered meal with Bon Chovie.

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Pisillo”

Vendor Feature: Pisillo

Find out how this authentic Italian panini vendor, Pisillo, is winning over New Yorkers hearts and stomachs. These huge sandwiches are perfect to share with a fellow coworker or to tackle all on your own. Antonella Silvio, the owner, sat with me last Wednesday to talk about Pisillo and how we can bring these paninis to your office.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?

This is a new concept of “Fast Food”, we only use fresh and high-quality Italian products. The bread we use comes from on of the finest bakeries in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which has been in business for 30 years. It is delivered to us every morning, right out of the oven, still warm, and with its fresh fragrance.

We only use high quality Italian cold cuts and all the ingredients and condiments are imported directly from Italy, like our buffalo mozzarella delivered fresh every week.

We do not make hot paninis and we do not use a press, because by using only fresh bread and the best products we want to preserve the quality of the Italian cold cuts being served so that we may offer our customers the very best tasting paninis.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

No.26 is a customer favorite because of the 2 types of meat. It is not a traditional Italian sandwich but everyone seems to love it.

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?

Pisillo opened almost three years ago, as a white-tiled homage to my home town in Italy, Sant’Agata de’ Goti, an arresting stone bastion nestled in the hills above Naples.

What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?

Meat lover? Vegetarian? Dairy enthusiast? Pisillo has something for everyone. From sweet to spicy selections, the combinations are limitless.

Critically acclaimed, Pisillo has been raved about for offering massive-sized panini sandwiches and giving customers bang for their hard earned bucks.

Contact us at catering@foodtoeat.com to book your next catered meal with Pisillo.

 

 

 

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Q Events”

Vendor Feature: Q Events

Q Events started back in 2003 when Kristine Quattrone the Owner left her 9-5 job and decided to open her own catering business. This vendor’s food packs a ton of flavor into all of its dishes. Last week we had a tasting of a variety of their food; the steak was a huge hit among our employees as well as their goat cheese salad. Between the delicious food and excellent service, Q Events proves they will be a big success in the office.

What sets you apart from all the other caterers in this cuisine?

Q Events has provided catering for events ranging in size and complexity from 10-person corporate breakfasts and lunches for Fashion Market Meetings to 20-person private brunches for a client. For three years, including 2013, provided daily catering for the Times Square New Years Eve Production Crew during the week-long preparation and concluding with the 350-person buffet dinner for the midnight celebration.

 

What is the background story behind the opening of Q Events?

Q Events is the product of years of life experiences, education and my passion for event planning. Since its inception, Q Events has worked with many well-known companies. Over the past ten years, Q Events has successfully fulfilled well over two thousand catering orders since its start in 2003.

What is the secret to keeping customers coming in?

Q Events strives to continue exceeding its clients’ expectations for the next ten years and beyond through my commitment to professionalism, quality, and reliability.

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to set up your next catered meal with Q Events.

 

 

 

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Distilled NY”

Vendor Feature: Distilled NY

Over the past year, Distilled has become one of our biggest vendors. From the magic dust popcorn, the fudgy chocolate brownies, to the glazed wings our office has fallen in love with the food this vendor has to offer. Not only is the food amazing, but their restaurant space has great vibes! – we’ve even held some of our own events at their location. Adam Wile, Co-Founder, sheds some light on how Distilled has gotten to where they are today and what it takes to keep their business thriving.

Why did you want to own / run a restaurant or catering business?
At its very core, to feed people. Food evokes such an emotional response and can bring people so much joy. It’s a great way to bring people and a community together.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?
We really try to bring people delicious, approachable food. It comes back to the question of what is the reason you cook for someone? We want to bring people something they’re familiar with that can evoke that strong emotional response while still keeping our food fresh and interesting.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?
We’re really well known for our wings. The recipe took years of tweaking to perfect and get it where it is today. It’s a great example of taking something someone is familiar with and presenting it to them in an approachable new way that’s delicious.

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?
The restaurant went through a few iterations before we got to where we are today. These included a pop up for Bravo’s Top Chef Kitchen as well as a brief stint where we used it as a private events space.

What is the most enjoyable part about the restaurant?
The community of the whole thing. The communal relationship we have with the neighborhood and our guests. Restaurants have a way of bringing people together that few other industries are able to replicate.

What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Good food, good drink, and great hospitality. We want guests to feel like they’re dining in our home with friends, and I think that really comes through in the experience we provide.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in the restaurant/catering industry?
Hurricane Sandy was a huge challenge for us very early on. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to come back from that and still be here when so many of our neighbors were not as lucky.

Advice to anyone thinking about opening their own restaurant.
Find good people. That probably goes for any industry, but it’s true. There’s no way we’d be we are today without the great individuals that make up our team.

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to set up your next catered meal with Distilled NY.

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Just Salad”

Vendor Feature: Just Salad

Everyone loves a good salad bar, but what makes an exceptional one? Kyle Feggins, Director of Catering, from Just Salad dives into why their menu is one of the best. On September 9th, we had one of our new vendors Just Salad cater our office. Whether your office orders the custom salad bar or individual salads you can’t go wrong. The custom salad bar has toppings ranging from different greens to premium toppings to fit everyone’s taste buds. On the other hand the individual salads are great for eating on the go. If you missed the Snapchat series of our tour be sure to add us @FoodtoEat on Snapchat for more segments.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants/caterers in your cuisine?
Just Salad serves deliciously healthy food using quality ingredients in a fast, affordable, and in a more fun way than other restaurants. We make healthy happen and we do it better than the rest.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?
The Smokehouse Steak is awesome! The combo of steak with feta tastes like a healthy steak dinner, and I love steak dinners!

What is the most enjoyable part about working at Just Salad?
The people. There are so many different kinds of people who make working here a great experience.

What is your secret to keep customers coming in?
Making sure we do our part to give them the experience when they order from us. We do an incredible job in helping them eat well and feel good about it.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in the catering industry?
Convincing people that we don’t serve Just Salad, we do salads, wraps, sandwiches, and even desserts!

Advice to anyone thinking about opening a catering business.
Be local but think global. Start out by getting a few people to really love what you do. If they love it, they will tell more people. Those first customers will be the ones that will help you get to where you want to go.

If you want Just Salad catered for your next meal contact us at Catering@foodtoeat.com.

 

 

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Atlantic Bagels”

Vendor Feature: Atlantic Bagels

On August 16th, we got to tour the Atlantic Bagels Cafe. I met with Alex Max who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Milana. Atlantic Bagels has been in business for 5 years conveniently located right off of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Atlantic Bagels has kept a tight knit group of employees ensuring this place feels like home when you walk in. 

Do not let the name fool you, they do way more than just bagels. From sandwiches, burgers, bagels, salads, and of course desserts they have you covered. They recently added a Salad Bar to their menu that you should definitely check out for your next order. Alex has created a  great relationship with all of his vendors to ensure the highest quality of ingredients, “I do not mind spending a little more money on my meat or fish to make sure I have the best of what is out there”.

Atlantic Bagels tries as much as possible to give back to the community as well. Their bagels are made fresh throughout the day. When closing time comes they donate the leftover bagels to City Harvest. City Harvest helps feed New Yorkers facing hunger on a daily basis by collecting food donations. If the bagels are not donated they turn them into their bagel chips, which I highly recommend. I would also recommend a sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese, lox, tomato, and lettuce (pictured above). 

If you want Atlantic Bagels catered for your next meal contact us at Catering@foodtoeat.com.

 

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Nuchas”

Vendor Feature: Nuchas

On August 17th, we got to tour the Nuchas catering facility and talk with Daron Dyke, the Catering & Special Events Manager. Whether you get your empanada from their food truck, one of their kiosks, a push cart, or catered straight to your office they do not disappoint. Buffalo Chicken and the Apple Cranberry Nutella are by far my favorites. If you missed the Snapchat series of our tour be sure to add us @FoodtoEat on Snapchat for more segments.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants/caterers in your cuisine?

What sets us apart is our dedication and commitment to creating gourmet products, using high quality ingredients. All of our empanadas are made from scratch in our USDA certified facility.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

My favorite dish is our Sweet Empanadas, made with a white almond dough and filled with a deliciously sweet mixture of granny smith apples, cranberries, pears, Nutella, and chocolate, it’s simply irresistible

What is the background story behind the opening of Nuchas?

Founded in 2009 by Argentinian visionary Ariel Barbouth, Nuchas was inspired by the fast-casual empanada restaurant concepts in Argentina. With his vision of wanting to bring a bite of his Spanish culture to America, Ariel created Nuchas, a caterer and wholesaler of gourmet empanadas. In 2011, Nuchas won a competitive bid to open its first kiosk in the heart of Times Square, New York City. Since then, Nuchas was awarded 2013 Rookie of the Year and the 2014 People’s Choice at the New York Vendy Awards, known as the “Oscars of Street Food.”

What is the most enjoyable part about Nuchas?

Being able to interact and bring people from various cultures around the world together with our empanadas is the best part about Nuchas. New York City is already a melting pot of cultures and being a part of Nuchas allows us the opportunity to promote cultural diversity and unity through food.

What is your secret to keep customers coming in?

Our bold flavor profiles and quality ingredients keep customer coming back. You can get a fried empanada just about anywhere in the city but Nuchas, “always baked, never fried” concept is truly one of a kind.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in the catering industry?

The biggest challenge is finding the balance of rapid growth and efficiency. We as a company strive to be the pioneer multicultural brand of all hand-held foods, but it’s important for us to do things right for both of customers and our staff.

Advice to anyone thinking about opening a catering business.

It’s a rewarding business but very demanding, so have to be dedicated, personable, and authentic in order to truly succeed.

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to setup your next catered meal with Nuchas.

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Tompkins Square Bagels”

Vendor Feature: Tompkins Square Bagels

On July 26th, I got to tour Tompkins Square Bagels. If you have never been or had a meal catered from them yet I highly recommend it. Whether it is a slower week day or busy weekend morning Tompkins Square bagels makes anywhere from 900-2,000 bagels daily. They are rolled perfectly, boiled for around 90 seconds and then baked to perfection. This 3 step process gives you an amazing bagel with a toasted outside and soft dough inside. Getting to watch this magic happen with my own two eyes was a great experience.

During my tasting I started out with an everything bagel with bacon, egg, cheese, and scallion cream cheese (per Frank’s, the General Managers, recommendation). The scallion cream cheese is a great twist to the classic BEC. If I was not full enough already I then got the french toast bagel with birthday cake cream cheese…yum is all I have to say. If you enjoy any type of sweets this bagel is for you.

We were lucky enough to have Christopher Pugliese, the Owner, give us a little more insight on the background of TSB.

What is your secret to keep customers coming in?

Hospitality. Our motto at TSB is ‘We are in the happiness business.’  We do whatever it takes to make people smile. That is the goal of every person on staff no matter what their job is that day.

What is the most enjoyable part about restaurant?

Restaurants are extremely hard work. When anyone asks me what it’s like I tell them it’s like taking all 128 of your undergraduate credits in one semester for the rest of your life. You can literally go to bed thinking it’s all under control and then wake up in the middle of the night in sweats because you just remembered that big project that’s due …. TOMORROW!  That’s everyday. There is always something to do. Every now and again, I will stand outside the front of my shop on a busy Saturday or Sunday and just take it all in for a few minutes; The line of laughing guests, the baristas serving coffee, the grill men flipping eggs and bacon, the baker pulling hot bagels out of the oven and dumping them into the baskets. I’ll see little kids with their parents and think ‘These kids will remember this store when they’re older the same way I remember the store I grew up with.’ To watch it all is like looking at a piece of living art. So, that is my enjoyment. THEN IT’S BACK TO WORK!

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?

I had worked in my neighborhood bagel shop from about 16 through college. Then I went and worked in NYC restaurants mostly serving but occasionally managing or helping BOH. I had the time of my life. However, towards the end, I felt the industry had changed in a way I wasn’t comfortable with. The rise of the Food Network/Foodie Culture/Rating Sites had brought a pretension to the industry that really made it less enjoyable for me. It became more about people feeling entitled to some ‘life changing’ experience everywhere they went than the simple act of gathering together and enjoying some great food and interacting with others. I kind of got to a point where I said ‘Ok Chris, what’s the least pretentious kind of place you can open? Ah, bagel shop!’  I also think I was trying to recreate the homey bagel shop of my youth. That was the neighborhood meeting place where everyone got together and enjoyed on weekend mornings.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

Just the classic stuff. Sesame bagel piping hot out of the oven with butter. Reminds me of being 16 and hitting up the bagel spot at 6AM after a night sleeping on Brighton Beach with my buddies. On the other side, Birthday Cake Cream Cheese on a French Toast Bagel is just a happy thing. It makes people light up and smile and, I like making people smile. That’s why I’m in this business.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?

Well, we make a classic, old style, NYC bagel. 5 basic ingredients based off a recipe that goes back to the 1950’s. We also hand make every cream cheese and salad in the shop. Everything is made fresh daily in small batches. If we run out, we run out.  We’d rather run out one day than serve something day old the next day.  Food aside, I think we have a very different mentality, as far as service and customer experience goes, than most bagel shops. I spent many years as a server in NYC. I understand how a guest thinks and I’m a people pleaser by nature. I’m always putting myself in the guest’s place.  It was very important to me to build the kind of place that everyone, meaning people from all walks of life, could come together in and  feel comfortable visiting.  The ‘Cheers’ philosophy. That place where everybody knows your name. I also put a lot of emphasis on the hospitality aspect of the business when training my staff. This was challenging at first since most deli/traditional bagel workers are more chef/food prep oriented and don’t really focus on hospitality.  It took a lot of training and explaining for me to get through how important the other side of the business is. I say things like ‘Look, imagine what a kick the guest would get if you (speaking to a grill man)  saw he was waiting to order and popped out from your station to help him! Like how cool would that be!’ Once they got on board, they dug it.        

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to setup your next catered meal with Tompkins Square Bagels.