Blog: Food waste

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In the past two years as a Fellow, I’ve engaged hundreds of college students around food waste issues to raise awareness and inspire others to address this problem. I’ve learned and shared how Bon Appétit is constantly evolving our commitment to addressing food waste companywide. And I’ve learned about how other players in this space are taking action, both on the ground and through legislation.  

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We’re no strangers to fighting food waste at Bon Appétit – we’ve been finding ways to keep food out of landfills since we opened our doors. Our most exciting step toward fighting food waste in our kitchens was the creation of Waste Not™ in 2021, our proprietary waste tracking system created by chefs, for chefs. Now we are excited to introduce our newly upgraded companywide waste commitments, which will help us meet our broader goal of reducing food loss and waste nationally by 50% by 2030, which we first pledged to work toward in 2016.  

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As Bon Appétit Fellows, part of our job is to travel to the different campuses we serve and collaborate with our culinary teams, along with university staff and student clubs, to engage students and inspire the next generation of sustainable food lovers and advocates. It’s always fun to get hands-on, of course, which is why we designed our quick pickling demo.

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At Bon Appétit Management Company, we’ve been looking at food loss and food waste prevention as critical levers in combatting the climate crisis since 2007. So we were pleased to see the Biden-Harris Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics, as recently published in a joint effort via the USDA, EPA, and FDA and released at COP28 in December.  

What do avocado skins and seeds, onion skins, and beet trimmings have in common – besides being candidates for the compost pile? These scraps can all be used in plant-based dyes, and using them not only reduces food waste, it reminds us of what’s possible when we practice creative reuse and extend sustainable practices from the kitchen out into the other parts of our lives.

At Bon Appétit Management Company, food waste is our foe. The 40% of food that goes unsold or uneaten in the United States is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s more than that.