Join Gourmet Dining in the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign & Photo Contest
Love Food? So do we.
Join Gourmet Dining in the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign & Photo Contest
March 3rd, 2014
Contact: Julie Aiello. firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever walked into the dining hall and been overwhelmed by the number of meals being served every day, and the resources it takes to make it happen? Have you wondered how much of the prepared food is eaten? And what happens to the rest?
Food waste is a hot topic, from college campuses to powerful organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Food waste is ubiquitous, and takes place on all levels of the supply chain from the field or ocean harvest to the processing plant to transportation to warehouse storage to the market and finally to the kitchen. End users at home and in dining facilities can also positively impact this issue in their own kitchens. The challenge to control food waste is so enticing because it promises many positive rewards. Recovering food waste provides triple bottom line opportunities:
1) Supports our communities by using food to feed people, not landfills
2) Reduces our environmental footprint, fresh water impact, and greenhouse gas emissions
3) Maximizes valuable resources like money and time to reinvest in products and programs we can fully utilize.
Love Food Hate Waste is Gourmet Dining’s spring campaign to increase awareness about food waste on campus and to inspire students to think creatively about meals in the dining hall. Similar campaigns across the U.S. and in Europe have already made significant impacts in their communities. Aligned with the EPA mission to raise awareness of the environmental, health and nutrition issues created by food waste, Gourmet launched the Love Food Hate Waste, with the goals to:
1) Create awareness among students and the campus community about food waste.
2) Engage students to think about building an intentional plate in the dining hall, to focus on nutrition, meal satisfaction and concurrently reduce food left on the plate in the dining hall.
3) Reduce food waste by 10% on campus.
We are building support for this campaign by embracing ways to “love food.” February featured heart healthy broccoli, exemplifying the varieties of broccoli and the myriad preparations including crunchy-sweet broccoli slaw, garlicky roasted broccoli parmesan and cool, creamy, protein enriched broccoli dips. As Chef Mark Dabundo ,of Kean University said, “At Gourmet, we love food and the opportunity to share that with students. It’s the most fun part of our job, to come up with new recipes and ways to encourage student’s taste palates to explore new preparations of traditional vegetables and foods they may have eaten their whole lives. Now they can re-experience them in a new way, like the broccoli slaw and broccoli hummus. ”
We hope you’re ready to spread the word about food initiatives on campus!
Beginning in March, we’re sponsoring the Love Food Hate Waste Photo Contest, to inspire students to build an intentionally planned, nutrition packed plate based on the My Plate guidelines. Many studies have demonstrated the connection between the presentation, color and appearance of food and its appetizing quality. Hence, mindfully building our plate to include a variety of deep rich colors from various food groups will create an appetizing and nutritious meal that will play a big role in improving our nutrition status while decreasing uneaten food waste. “Taking time to build our plate well can also help to avoid overloading on the first thing that might appeal to us when we’re hungry. Choosing to fill half our plate with vegetables and fruits will automatically leave less room for high calorie, high fat choices like too many slices of pizza or multiple burgers. This is a choice that will “pay it forward” to your next meals as well. The more fruit, vegetable and whole grain powered choices you choose at one meal will better supply you with time-release energy until the next meal. It can also help to maintain portion control, which is a key factor in the efforts to waste less food and to help maintain a healthy weight,” says Jenn Bostedo, RD, Corporate Dietitian for Gourmet Dining.
March is also National Nutrition Month, and to further expand the culinary and nutrient-rich “love food” component, we are featuring meals and highlighting key ingredients the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has received ample press over the last few years, from doctors and dietitians alike. Time and researched tested again and again, the Mediterranean Diet is known for its heart healthy traditional foods, on a base of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats. Each Monday we celebrate a feature Mediterranean vegetable, and each Thursday an entire Mediterranean inspired meal, including Greek, French and Italian. Our hope at Gourmet is to inspire students to learn more about the highly touted Mediterranean diet and to consider its benefit to their nutrition status and its ability to reduce food waste by highlighting sustainable foods.
What can a single student do? Get involved! Learn more about the Mediterranean diet, and building your plate. Participate in the photo contest, and enter to win one of three $50 gift cards for your mindfully planned plate. Students can submit multiple photos to their host institution Gourmet Dining facebook page, which can be found on our website: www.gourmetdiningllc.com. Dieititans Jenn Bostedo and Alexa McDonald are visiting campuses daily to explore with students how to maximize the build of their individual plates. They will also judge the winning plates entered in the photo contest. In addition to the top 3 winners, all students that submit a photo will be eligible to enter a raffle for fantastic and delicious Mediterranean themed prizes!
What is Gourmet doing? Behind the scenes at Gourmet we have a trifold approach to address the “hate waste” segment of our campaign. As trained culinary professionals, we are taking further initiatives to make sure we are:
- ordering and storing food efficiently
- carefully planning meals with attention to volume and ingredients required, providing high quality food with little waste
- when we can no longer utilize certain food products, we donate when possible and as a last step, compost.
This may translate into making soups utilizing good nutritious fresh ingredients available in the kitchen that might be underused for other applications. In our industry, fresh soup made from scratch with nearly any combination of vegetables and aromatics is a sign of a well-trained chef. While food handling practices are stringently observed, we will strive to further reduce of waste.
While we compost on some campuses, composting is still a challenge on an industrial level due to high volume of food waste and the compost industry’s capacity. It is our goal to have each institution we work with compost by September or 2015. We also have many partnerships with local community kitchens to donate prepared foods we can no longer utilize.
Together we can make a difference! As students, as food service professionals, and as a academic community, we have a great opportunity to create awareness and reduce food waste. Please contact Julie Aiello, Director of Marketing and Sustainable Development, for more information or to get involved in leading food initiatives with Gourmet Dining. You can email her at email@example.com. You can also email our dietitians with any questions or to set up a one-on-one complimentary consultation. Their contacts are:
Jenn Bostedo, RD – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexa McDonald RD – email@example.com
Stats to motivate you to make a difference:
- In 2010, we wasted 33.79 million tons of food in the US, enough to fill the Empire State Building 91 times. That’s 16% more waste than the previous decade.
- Meanwhile, 17.2 million US households were “food insecure,” meaning it was difficulty to provide enough food for everyone in the family.
- Getting food from farm to fork requires 80% of all fresh water, costs 10% of the U.S. energy budget and covers 50% of land yet 40% of all food goes uneaten.
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