How Some Restaurants Are Helping Transform Food Waste

In the United States, 30-40 percent of food is wasted each year, with most of it going to landfills, rotting in field, or floating in sewers. Now, kitchens are taking action to save those scraps.

April 24, 2023

2 Min Read
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Kaliantye / Alamy Stock Photo

In the United States, 30-40 percent of food is wasted each year, with most of it going to landfills, rotting in field, or floating in sewers. In 2021, the U.S. wasted 80 million tons of food, with more than half of it coming from residents across the country, according to ReFED.

For restaurants, 4-10 percent of food that a location purchases never makes it to the customer, and over a third of food served to a customer goes uneaten, costing restaurant billions every year. And chefs and their kitchens are taking on the challenge of limiting food waste and being as sustainable as possible.

Sullivan Scrap kitchen incorporates kitchen scraps and food waste into its menus. It offers a Scrap Tasting menu where chefs use fun scraps from the kitchen and make dishes from them for restaurant goers. For example, from their scraps tasting menu, Sullivan Scrap Kitchen whipped up a plate of Brisket Carbonara using chopped brisket scraps and leftover egg yolks from making meringue.

Kayla Abe is the co-founder of Shuggies Trash Pies, a restaurant and self-proclaimed, “food was paradise.” Kayla stops into local vendors every week to buy unsellable or undesired products. Chef & Owner David Murphy at Shuggies uses those unwanted foods to create pizzas and pies, such as dough made with whey from cheese making and spent oats from the oat milk making process which are milled down into flour. When working with some of the scraps, Murphy mentions that, in a Michelin Star restaurant, they would have been thrown away and those kitchens see “so much discard.”

In Cincinnati, Oh. is La Soupe, a non-profit that rescues food waste and wanted foods from local sources to turn them into dishes and help the local community with food insecurity. In Cincinnati, 270,000 households are considered food insecure and La Soupe is constantly pumping out meals to the needy. In addition to that, every week La Soupe gives away surplus food to locals in the area. Since La Soupe opened in 2014, it has rescued 4.5 million pounds of food from going to landfills which was then turned into dishes or donated to residents.

Watch the full video here.

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