Helping Businesses Reduce Hunger and Waste

Meet A Donor

Dozens of regional businesses have committed to Fork It Over! Read about the program's featured donor and our featured food rescue agency, too.

Featured Donor: Bon Appétit Management Company

 

You Don’t Need to be a Superhero to Rescue Food

By Claire Cummings, West Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Management Company

 

CEO & chefs purchase from local farm

In the battle against waste, food recovery is a magic bullet: it is good for the environment, feeds people in need, and saves money!

 

Sustainability-focused food service provider Bon Appétit Management Company has been waging our own war on waste since 2007, when we launched our Low Carbon Diet. One major component of this campaign to address climate change was food waste reduction, through a 12-week program that got our 500-plus cafés at corporations, universities, and museums around the country implementing creative, and often simple, changes to reduce waste by 30%. We met that target, and those efforts have become second nature.

 

While the Low Carbon Diet has continued to be a flagship program of ours, in more recent years food recovery has become a significant part of our companywide waste reduction efforts. Around the country, we work with organizations like the Food Recovery Network and Chefs to End Hunger to take leftover food from our cafés that would otherwise go to waste, and serve it to people in need within our communities.

 

In Portland, OR we are partnering with Feeding America, the Oregon Food Bank, and Saint Vincent de Paul on a pilot food recovery program that will be replicated with food banks and food service providers throughout the United States. We have been told by some of the smaller organizations we work with (such as Urban Gleaners) that they greatly appreciate the high quality and nutritional value of the foods we donate. Food recovery takes very little effort, builds great relationships with our community and guests, and fights hunger while keeping perfectly good food out of our landfills. We believe there is no reason why more businesses shouldn’t be doing this.

 

As we launch programs at our cafés all across the country - from Rhode Island to Minnesota to Washington - we encounter some frequently expressed concerns about food recovery:

 

  • But we have very little space to store food! Most organizations can work with you to schedule more frequent pickups, if that is the case. Some of our cafés donate once a week some donate everyday.

 

  • But we have so few leftovers! You probably have more than you think. And some organizations will come pick up as little as 10 pounds of food. If you are really skeptical about the amount you have to donate, do a trial run and just collect and track the amount of food you would donate on an average week to see how much it adds up to. You may be surprised by what you find!

 

  • But we don’t do regular food service in the summer! This is an issue for our education accounts, but never fear: you can have a regular donation program during the school semesters, and then in the summer work with the organization to do donations on an “on-call basis.”

 

  • But we can’t find an organization to work with! Working with the right group is critical to the success of your program. The Fork It Over Match +Find Tool is a great place to start looking for a partner.

 

So what are you waiting for? Please join us in the fight against food waste!

 

Claire Cummings can be reached at claire.cummings@bamco.com

 

Photos courtesy of Bon Appétit Management Company