Compass Group, the world’s largest foodservice company, has designated April 27 as Stop Food Waste Day. The international day of action brings individuals and companies together to fight food waste, and this year, chefs across the world will lead live cooking demonstrations in Compass Group cafes to build awareness of the critical food waste problem and inspire change.
“The inspiration behind Stop Food Waste Day came from our COO Rick Post, who challenged those at Compass Group to figure out how we could use our size and culinary talent to make positive changes when it comes to food waste,” says Amy Keister, vice president of sustainability and consumer engagement of Compass Group. “With that, our day of action was born. We celebrated the first Stop Food Waste Day last year and decided that the last Friday of Earth Month would be a great day for the international day of action.”
This effort goes hand-in-hand with Compass Group North America’s commitment to reduce food waste by 25 percent by 2020 and its mission to create a positive impact for people, the planet and the food system. Compass is already reporting an 11 percent decrease in food waste and is on track to meet its three-year goal. Investments in training, digital platforms and innovative systems have uncovered opportunities to reduce waste throughout the lifecycle of food–from harvesting and producing to purchasing and portioning.
“Food waste reduction is a priority we are driving every day,” said Keister in a statement. “Serving 9.8 million meals daily in North America alone, the reach of our influence is huge–both inside our cafes and through our client and customer connections. Together, we can create real and meaningful change.”
Approximately 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. Compass Group’s network of strategic partnerships with organizations such as ReFED, Eatable, Save the Food, Feeding America and Food Tan, and influencers such as celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, help mobilize the movement to drive results. Today, more than 250,000 pounds of food are donated each year to local food banks from cafes within the Compass Group family of companies in North America. Chefs are trained to purchase Imperfectly Delicious Produce (IDP) and have rescued 4 million pounds of “aesthetically imperfect” food to date. Compass Group chefs also utilize online tools for tracking waste, create smart menus to maximize ingredients and provide resources to help customers reduce waste in their home kitchens. Worldwide, Compass Group’s top 30 countries have committed to activate food waste reduction programs.
“As leaders, it is critical to influence positive change and offer meaningful solutions. But we can’t do it alone,” said Rick Post, COO of Compass Group, in a statement. “Throughout the year, we are partnering with innovative people, organizations and our clients by sharing progressive strategies and best practices to deliver results and make a significant impact.”
This Stop Food Waste Day, Compass Group invites individuals and companies to educate their audience on food waste and its impact and to attend events hosted at hundreds of Compass cafés in local hospitals, schools, arenas, corporations, museums and senior living communities.
“The whole purpose is to make this day fun, so we are having competitions between two chefs at a number of our cafes across the globe,” says Keister. “The chefs are going to be competing on the least amount of waste with the greatest amount of taste. The recipes will be family friendly and within a budget, and the competitions will be judged by individuals from nonprofits, celebrity chefs and some of our engaged clients.”
To share your food waste reduction effort this Stop Food Waste Day, create a post on your social media outlet of choice using #StopFoodWasteDay.