Simply Tracking Food Waste Helps Lead to Waste Reduction, Sodexo Reports

Sodexo cut kitchen waste by about one third at eight college campuses simply by tracking and monitoring food waste, according to the preliminary findings from the first eight weeks of a pilot study. Sodexo is partnering with LeanPath, a technology company providing food waste tracking systems, to conduct the review.

The pilot study focuses on kitchen (pre-consumer) waste, not what customers throw out. The pilot study system features a tracking station where Sodexo employees enter data about what they are throwing out and why. By tracking the reason for throwing away items, Sodexo is able to correct the problem to prevent future food waste. Sodexo employees at those eight sites have dramatically reduced overproduction, spoilage, expiration and trimmings by participating in the pilot study.

"Our people have been vigilant about preventing food waste at these sites demonstrating they are extremely good stewards of the environment," says Tom Post, Sodexo's president of education – campus. "The pilot results show it's possible to send less waste to landfills and to reduce costs without compromising the quality or variety of the food we serve."

LeanPath estimates that 4 to 10 percent of the food that is purchased ends up in kitchen waste. Each participating site in the Sodexo pilot also has a Stop Waste Action Team (SWAT) composed of employees. This group reviews the waste tracking data, sets specific goals for improvement, and tests waste prevention ideas. The most effective ideas become permanent.

The pilot project is part of Sodexo's "Stop Wasting Food" campaign, which seeks to engage its customers and employees in reducing food waste to curb climate change. Environmental scientists say that food waste in landfills produces methane gas, which breaks down the ozone layer and leads to climate change.

Sodexo pilot study results come from a program initiated in early September at eight college campuses across the country to analyze and measure kitchen waste in an effort to better manage it. Colleges participating in the waste-reduction pilot program include Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, California State University of Monterey Bay in Seaside, Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, Linfield College in McMinnville, OR, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, Pomona College in Claremont, CA, University of California at Davis, and the University of Wisconsin in River Falls.