A recent report in THE HINDU newspaper said that 48.5% people of the Tamilnadu state live in cities (http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/urban-boom-altering-tn-population-profile/article4771065.ece).
The above is just to give you an idea about the population density in cities. And, the amount of food that is served to the people out there. Restaurants and hotels are a major chunk in the food distribution. We need to closely look at the food generation, utilization and wastage.
Ingredients of food like rice, fruits, vegetables, grains come from villages to cities. They are then distributed to the restaurants and hotels. The restaurants and hotels prepare the food, and deliver it to customers. The customers eat and they waste too!
A study says that 3 out of 10 people all over the world are hungry each day. It’s a crime that we waste the food when there’s non-availability of food in some portions of the world. I have seen in restaurants and hotels that lot of food is getting wasted and just thrown away. It’s not only a cost problem, but it’s also a wastage and an environment problem, as unsegregated waste leads to environment issues.
Many steps can be taken by the restaurants and food chains in the city to prevent food waste:
- When they procure, they carefully look at the demand-supply situation, and order only the quantity required
- In spite of the above precaution, if ingredients are still not being used which might go waste, donate it to the elderly homes, orphanages and needy people
- When the cooked food is served to the customer, and if the customer wastes it (which can be identified by the server as above some limit), then a ‘waste processing fee’ should be levied on the customer to clear the waste. Many times, especially in India, only money brings awareness and commitment to the people, so they will be afraid of paying penalty, and will not waste food. They will order only the amount of food that they can eat. This ‘waste processing fee’ could be anywhere between 10 to 15 percent of the total cost of the ordered food. Notice boards can be kept in the hotel to make the customer aware that they will be charged if they waste food.
- Ingredients can be shared among the food chains and hotels so that they don’t order stuff that is already available in some other hotel in the city. An online database of availability can be maintained between the partnering hotels so that they know among each other on what stuff is surplus
By following ideas like the above, food and its ingredients wastage can be considerably reduced. Restaurants and hotels definitely have a huge role to play in avoiding food waste.