Background: Up to 40% of food produced in America is wasted each year. Meanwhile over 42 million Americans are food insecure. The purposes of this study were to 1) identify contributing factors to local restaurant food waste, 2) describe barriers to restaurant food donations, and 3) describe barriers to donation acceptance by shelter employees.
Methods: Two electronic surveys were distributed to either local restaurant managers/owners or to employees involved in food donation acceptance in local shelters/kitchens following phone calls and/or personal visits by researchers to facilities. Data were coded into and analyzed using SPSS.
Results: There was a 17% (N=12/72) and 100% (N=14/14) response rate for restaurants and shelters requested to participate, respectively. While only 16% (N=2) of restaurant survey respondents (RSR) were concerned about food waste in their establishments, all RSR (N=12) agreed that reducing food waste in their facilities was important. Over 83% (N=10) reported having successful food waste prevention measures in their restaurants. There was a positive correlation with report of presence of prevention measures and knowledge of the Good Samaritan Act (r=.67, p<0.05). Approximately 42% (N=5) of RSR reported they would be interested in connecting with local shelters to donate food and also agreed that liability is a barrier to safe food donations. Among shelter respondents, 81% (N=9) agreed that their facilities would benefit from excess restaurant food donations.
Conclusion: Although all RSR agreed that food waste prevention measures were important, the majority were not concerned about food waste in their facilities. Due to the overall poor response rates among restaurant owners/managers, the RSR in this survey may represent a segment that were more interested in food waste and more likely to respond to the survey. The majority of respondents of both surveys agreed that partnering with restaurants and shelters for safe excess food donation was desirable.
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Funding Source: None
Background: There have been many food waste studies done in elementary schools around the country. Several studies have determined that main entrées contribute significantly to plate waste in elementary school food programs, but studies relating the use of condiments and their influence on food waste need further exploration.
Objectives: Determine the correlation between the addition of condiments and the amount of plate waste from a chicken entrée.
Methods: In Phase I, data was collected in an elementary afterschool meal program. Researchers evaluated plate waste for the chicken entrée once a week for a total of four weeks. Chicken entrée plate waste was evaluated by weight and visual assessment. The waste weight was compared to the weight of one serving of the chicken entrée. A photograph of the total plate waste was taken each week for visual comparison. Researchers compared the total number of servings prepared to the number of servings leftover. In Phase II of the study a condiment (ketchup) was added to the menu when the chicken entrée was served. A marketing campaign was implemented with flyers to advertise the addition of the condiment. For the remaining four weeks, plate waste was documented using the same methods utilized during Phase I.
Results: In Phase I, an average of 26.7% of chicken entrées was wasted. In Phase II, an average of 20.8% of chicken entrées was wasted. No statistically significant difference was found in the percentage of food leftover between Phase I and Phase II (p<0.06). After adjusting for differences in initial portion size, there was still no statistically significant difference in weight of entrée left over (p<0.3).
Conclusion: Though there was no significant difference, the amount of waste is large enough to draw attention to the problem of waste in school foodservice. More research is necessary to determine what factors are leading to food waste.