Across our operations, we’ve implemented practices that decrease the impact – and the cost – of waste. Starting with what we purchase, and continuing through to how we dispose of waste, we work hard every day to reduce our environmental footprint.
As a global food service company, we're proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion for our commitment to reduce food loss and waste in our operations by 50 percent by 2030.
Our approach to managing food waste is aligned with the EPA’s food recovery hierarchy, and with our “behind the scenes” food management programs, we make sure we are ordering accurate amounts of food, preparing and serving it in a way that limits waste, and tracking our progress.
Sometimes unique circumstances, like an event cancelled at the last minute, or an unexpected snow storm that closes dining facilities, causes us to make other plans. In those cases, we implement our food donation program to provide safe, unserved food to hunger relief agencies in our communities.
We partner with our clients to create robust recycling and composting programs to keep waste out of landfills. We also offer them solutions that help reduce waste at the source – like reusable to-go food and beverage containers, and “trayless” dining programs, which are proven to cut down on the amount waste created.
Our Food Management Process
According to industry standards, pre-consumer food waste shouldn’t exceed five percent of the total food purchased. We’re on par with those standards, but our goal is to go beyond that.
We’ve developed a food management process and training program that teaches our employees about using standard menus, proper portions, preparation and production, and keeping track of waste through an online portal. This online program lets us know not only how much we’ve reduced our food waste, but also the value.
By following our process, we’ve seen a measurable decrease in the amount of food waste across all our businesses – about 12.5 percent on average.We know we can do even more, so we’re testing new technology, and engaging employees with recognition programs to support our progress.
We’re also taking a closer look at “ugly” produce – fruits and vegetables that have a few bumps and bruises and would ordinarily be destined for a landfill, but can be used for a variety of recipes. Ugly produce is becoming more available and we’re continuing to discuss how we can incorporate appropriate product in to our menus.
As Aramark’s food service director at PwC, Michelle Chang oversees the $4.5 million food and beverage account, which includes a café, catering, a coffee shop, and various pantries. Environmental sustainability is a way of life at PwC, thanks to Michelle and her team.
“Being in New York City, just seeing Bryant Park from the 21st floor of this building, it really reminds me why we need to be engaged in environmental sustainability every single day,” she says. “I feel so proud to work for Aramark because we have such a strong commitment to the environment."
In the U.S. alone, about 40 percent of the food supply is wasted, totaling more than 20 lbs. of food per person per month.
“That’s a big number and our actions make a difference,” Chang said. Minimizing waste is a team effort, including our managers and associates, Chang explained.
Each day, Aramark’s PwC staff diligently completes production sheets to weigh their waste. Her team analyzes trends in past reduction sheets, customer counts, weather changes, and waste logs to make proper adjustments in production to minimize waste. Using this data, Chang’s team can accurately forecast ways to adjust its actions to increase waste minimization. They also get a better idea of what guests enjoy in the café.
Chang said the associates are the true heroes of Aramark’s green initiatives at PwC because they are extremely engaged in the process. They also make it fun for the staff through contests to see who can generate the least amount of waste.
Our first goal is to reduce waste at the source. But when unusual circumstances leave us with extra food, we donate our unused food to non-profit organizations and hunger relief agencies in our communities whenever we can.
We partner with The Food Donation Connection (FDC), a non-profit agency that connects us with community organizations, and helps us ensure food safety and distribution.
For more than 20 years, FDC has been connecting donors with more than 8,000 community organization, such as shelters, community centers, food pantries and children’s organizations, that help feed those in need in the US, Canada, and the UK.
Food Donation Connection identifies local agencies, approved by the regional health department, that most need the food donations, and assists the agencies with the food donation process, training them on processing, labeling and storing, and tracking food donations safely.
We also work with our front-line employees, educating them about our program, so we can continue to reduce food waste while feeding those in need.
Aramark’s UC Irvine Partnership Helps People in Need
While the earth’s future is top of mind at The University of California at Irvine (UCI), local people in need benefit directly from this Aramark partnership every day.
UCI leads the nation in higher education waste diversion, saving 80 percent of its waste from landfills. Minimizing comes first, but on the rare occasions overproduction is unavoidable, food goes directly to local people in need, Tyson Monagle explained. Monagle is the marketing coordinator at UCI and sustainability steward for Aramark’s West Region for higher education.
“By donating to our local partners, there is a direct benefit to people who are incredibly disadvantaged and vulnerable in the communities we serve,” Monagle said.
Monagle’s team follows Aramark’s food donation guidelines by focusing on food that is produced, unserved, safe to eat, and cannot be repurposed. These items are provided to the local community.
Food Donation Connection (FDC) manages the network of local food relief agencies.
UCI staff first stores food to be donated. Then, it’s frozen to hold at a safe temperature until it can be picked up by a local food donation partner, such as The Vineyard Church of Anaheim, which has a food pantry, serves hot meals, and provides bagged lunches to the homeless.
The benefit of the program is twofold -- people in need get immediate help and products are kept from landfills, Monagle explained.
February 7, 2018 - in coordination with American Heart Month and National Nutrition Month, we will donate $1 to local community centers when consumers join or follow our Feed Your Potential 365 health campaign.