Reducing food waste in schools
The hot topic in today’s food industry is the sheer volume of food that is wasted on a daily basis. Schools being no exception producing 13% of all non-domestic food waste in England. This amounts to throwing out 123,000 tonnes per year of which most goes straight to landfill.
So how do we go about reducing this statistic?
Installing an in-house school kitchen can put you to on the right path to take control of your food waste. Monitoring the volumes and portion sizes of food given to children is crucial in reducing the amount that is left and thrown in the bin. Often the same size portion is given to a 4 year old and a 10 year old for example. This is particularly common when ready prepared food is bought in from outside caterers. An in-house school kitchen gives the freedom to source fresh produce locally, creating your own menus and cooking only what is needed in-house has a major benefit to any school with food waste concerns.
“In monetary terms, food waste costs schools and colleges £250m per year which if reduced could cut an average of 22p off a school meal”.
Being able to create your own menu that is right for the children in your school is key. Changing the way certain foods are cooked could mean that children eat the food they are not normally accustomed to and are more likely to eat it all. For example, saute cabbage as apposed to boiling it. Make healthy fresh food more interesting for the children and you are onto a winner.
Take the initiative in your school – be a school leader in food waste initiatives
Installing a commercial kitchen in your school is an exciting prospect and has many benefits. It will give you the opportunity to make your own decisions with regards to sourcing food produce (possibly even growing your own produce in a school kitchen garden to use and cook), monitoring volume and portion sizes to reduce waste and promoting healthy eating to your pupils and the list goes on.
Remember – though an initial capital investment will be needed to install a commercial kitchen, it is generally cheaper to produce meals in-house, whether from scratch or regenerated, rather than relying on daily transported meals.
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