Metz T.A.S.T.E. reduces waste

Published in FSD Update

Students at Lebanon Valley College, in Annville, Penn., are not wasting away—food waste that is. A pilot sustainability initiative started in the fall semester, Taking Action for a Sustainable Tomorrow Everywhere (T.A.S.T.E.) encourages students to actively participate in reducing waste at dining hall facilities.

In partnership with student organizations and college student research teams, data was collected, tracked and analyzed regularly. By the end of the first semester, data show that the program has yielded an overall savings of more than $25,000 and a decrease of 40 pounds of waste per meal.

“Initially the goals were more for our team back of house to focus on how to limit the amount of food we’re putting in the trash,” explains Bill Allman, general manager for Metz at Lebanon. But after assessing the amount of food on plates coming back to the kitchen, Allman and his team realized that waste was a front-of-house issue that had to be addressed as well. So “part of our program is really partnering with the student body and getting them involved in the front-of-house collection of food waste,” Allman explains.

Four tactics allow for students to participate and earn rewards for reducing waste:

  • Sample It! encourages students to sample food before wasting a helping in the event that they don’t like the dish;
  • Take What You Like, Eat What You Take shares food facts with students on signage, menus and flyers to help them understand the impact of tossing food that they don’t eat. For example, more than 4.5 million tons of food is wasted every year in the U.S.—that is enough food to fill the Rose Bowl every single day of the year;
  • Mom’s Clean Plate Club invites students to consume everything they have taken and prove it by showing their clean plate to Lebanon Valley’s “Official Mom,” Mary Anne Anspach, a 45-year veteran of the dining services team; and
  • SMART Plates—Sustainable Meals Aiding Responsible Tastes—are meals that help students make healthy, sustainable choices. Entreés incorporate local foods and whole grains, have less than 500 milligrams of sodium and 5 grams of saturated fat and are under 750 calories.

Students receive a T.A.S.T.E. card, which is stamped by dining services staff when tasks are completed. When 10 stamps are collected, students turn it in for a T.A.S.T.E. token. Tokens can then be exchanged for prizes, such as a free drink (one token), a free meal (three tokens) or 25 flex dollars to use in the dining hall (six tokens).

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Menu Development
craft beer flight
A draw for happy hour...

San Francisco restaurateur Charles Phan plans to serve beer and wine, and depending on liquor licensing, perhaps cocktails as well. “For faculty and staff on campus, it will be a really wonderful place to come to and have a glass of wine,” Wolch says. “Right now, we have The Faculty Club bar, which is a very historic spot, but this is going to be much more contemporary.”

And for morning coffee...

Phan’s plan for made-to-order coffee is bound to be a boon for both faculty and students. “We’ll have a brand-new espresso machine,” Phan says. Wolch adds, “Most...

Managing Your Business
wurster west may 2016

At a nearly 150-year-old university, every stone column and classroom has treasured stories to tell. But with that history come the logistical challenges of operating in outdated spaces—especially for foodservice. Such is the case at University of California at Berkeley, where longtime cafe Ramona’s in Wurster Hall closed in March to make way for an updated, as-yet unnamed concept.

With little more than a steam table and coolers, Ramona’s was limited by its lack of ventilation. And, as a former classroom space, it never was intended to function for foodservice, says Jennifer Wolch...

FSD Resources