3 top tips for reducing waste in your care home kitchen

Here, Mike Hardman from the catering supplies wholesaler Alliance Online
explains how you can reduce waste in your care home kitchen. This will
help to limit the impact your work is having on the environment and
could save you money, too.

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Each year, approximately one third of the world’s food produced for human consumption is wasted, according to research
from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. When
you consider the fact that, in the UK alone, 8.4 million people struggle
to afford regular meals, this is incredibly shocking. Plus, the impact
of all this food waste on the environment means it’s unsustainable.

We all need to be looking at ways in which we can reduce the amount
of food waste we create. And, as the hospitality and food service
industries are responsible for throwing away 920,000 tonnes of food
annually (WRAP)
— three quarters of which is still perfectly edible — it’s vital that
care homes commit to making changes. To help you out, I’m going to
outline three simple ways that you can drastically reduce the amount of
food waste that is created in your care home kitchen. Read on to learn
more.

Create an accurate inventory and keep it updated

It’s important that you keep an accurate and up-to-date inventory of
the food that’s coming into and leaving your kitchen. This is because it
will help to give you a much better idea of what stock you have plenty
of, and what needs replenishing. As a result, when you put an order in
for more supplies, you’ll know exactly what you need to buy, and won’t
end up with more food than you’ll be able to use up before it goes off.

You should start by making a note of all of the ingredients you
already have in your care home kitchen, along with all of the
use-by-dates — this is especially important, as it will give you an idea
of which items need to be used up the quickest. You can then plan your
residents’ meals accordingly. Then, whenever you run out of something or
a new batch of supplies is delivered, you should update your itinerary
in line with this.

Think carefully about your residents’ portion sizes

Any food that’s left on your residents’ plates after mealtimes will
have to go straight in the bin. If you find that you’re throwing away a
lot of food after it’s been serves, it might be time to look at the
portion sizes you’re offering.

Making a simple change such as offering two different portion sizes
could dramatically reduce how much food is being left on plates. This
will allow your diners to choose a larger or smaller meal depending on
their appetite on a particular day.

Donate any extra food that won’t get used

If you often have edible leftovers, why not look at donating them to a
worthy cause? There are plenty of organisations out there who will be
grateful to receive any food that would otherwise go to waste, and
they’ll be able to use this to help those in need.

The Trussell Trust, for
example, has a 400-strong network of food banks, which all provide a
minimum of three days’ worth of emergency food and support to people in
crisis. As 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK,
they’re always in need of more supplies so, if you have a surplus of
non-perishables that are still in date, they’ll happily take them off
your hands.

Food Cycle
is another great organisation that’s helping vulnerable people by
providing them with cooked meals when they need them most. Donating food
to any charities that need it will go a long way to reducing your
kitchen waste and is an incredibly valuable way for you to give back to
your local community.

If you’re looking to reduce the amount of food waste created
by your care home kitchen, taking these tips on board is a great place
to start. They’ll help you to limit the negative impact your work is
having on the environment, save you money in the long run, and offer a
great way for you to help charities that will be grateful for your
support.

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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