Pre-Consumer Food Waste at Three Dining Facilities
Span, Kati A.
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The objectives of this 8-week study were to assess the amount (weight) of pre-consumer (production) food waste at a large university, serving 18,000 meal plan holders, and identify major contributors of food waste (i.e. food categories, types of waste). Dining facility managers and waste coordinators (WCs) were voluntarily recruited from three dining facilities to oversee all food waste data collection and entry by dining staff, and attend weekly meetings with the research team. Food waste was weighed by staff at the designated facilities using institutional food scales. Information about the food waste was then written on tracking sheets and entered into an online database. The tracking sheet and database contained information on: product description (i.e. food type), reason for waste, weight of food (lbs), disposal method (compost/food scraps, diverted, or trash), and any related comments. Waste analysis included aggregating weekly data by total waste (lbs), facility, food type, food groups of MyPlate, and reason for food waste. Quantitative results from this study reveal that thousands of pounds of food waste are disposed of each week, especially for proteins and grains. Results derived from qualitative interviews and focus groups indicated that waste tracking is beneficial for staff buy-in, creating waste standards to improve efficiency, and adjusting food production schedules. Implications from these results indicate ability to help guide policy and practice, and provide insight into major contributors of institutional food waste.
- Masters Theses