University of Iowa Hospitals tackle waste issue

The foodservice department has reduced food waste, increased food donations and implemented a composting program.

Published in Healthcare Spotlight

The first step was to examine the forecasting methods, as it was apparent from the report that the department was overproducing food. The team started by looking at the rather extensive menu for the system’s seven retail dining facilities and winnowing it of underperforming items. That resulted in a 5% reduction in the total number of items on the menu.

“Then we fine-tuned our menu forecasting,” Dolezal says. “We never want to run out of food, but it was obvious that we were overproducing. By tweaking those numbers, we’re also saving money, since the dollar amount of the food we were wasting has been cut by 40%.”

The Styrofoam issue was a huge one, she admits. “We serve over 10,000 meals a day,” she says. “We’re are open 24/7. That’s a lot of carry out. Our biggest challenge was finding enough biodegradable products that would suit our needs. Fortunately, we were able to find a company that could provide what we needed.”

Dolezal adds that she also revived a reusable mug program to try to cut the amount of disposable cups being used.

The disposable items, along with post-consumer food waste, go into pulpers to be converted to compostable form. The hospital’s hauling company picks up the pulped waste three times a week, something that is costing the department about $38,000 a year.

“One of our challenges is that we have an old central kitchen, which hasn’t been renovated since 1986,” Dolezal explains. “Our storage space is very limited and, as you know, that food waste can start to generate an odor.”

The solution, which she says will be implemented in the next couple of months, will be to build a platform adjacent to the loading docks and install a refrigerator to house the waste. Once that is done, Dolezal will be able to reduce the pickups to once a week.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The School Nutrition Foundation has named its five School Nutrition Heroes for 2018.

The honorees were nominated by their peers and then selected by the SNF for helping end hunger for homeless and low-income students and their families.

Those chosen are:

Paula Angelucci, child nutrition director, Colonial School District; New Castle, Del. Anthony Terrell, culinary specialist, Shelby County Schools; Memphis, Tenn. April Laskey, director of school nutrition, Billerica Public Schools; Billerica, Mass. Lynne Shore, food service director, Willamina School District;...
Sponsored Content
spring desserts

From Bistro Collection® Gourmet Desserts.

Consumers and operators alike often associate seasonal desserts with pumpkin pie, gingerbread and candy canes—after all, winter is a season closely associated with indulgence.

But after the winter holidays, when people are hitting the gym and holding themselves to New Year’s Resolution diets, desserts don’t get as much attention. For operators, this can mean a lag in sales of sweets—but it’s not a lost cause. Updating springtime dessert menus to reflect the change in what diners are looking for can generate excitement and boost...

Industry News & Opinion

Sidney Central School District in Sidney, N.Y., has received $58,783 from the state to improve its farm-to-school program, The Daily Star reports.

The grant will be used to aid in appointing a farm-to-school coordinator and assistant who will help source local farm products for 10 districts in the region for NY Thursday, an initiative where cafeterias attempt to serve meals made entirely by local ingredients every Thursday.

The funding is part of a $12 million award spread among 12 districts throughout the state by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Read the full story via...

Industry News & Opinion

Denver Public Schools has begun posting cooking videos on its Facebook page in an effort to promote the scratch-made meals served in its cafeterias, Denverite reports.

The video tutorials are set up in a similar way to Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos, showing a pair of hands from above as they prepare a meal to background music. The Colorado district promotes the videos with the hashtag #DPSDelicious.

Read the full story via denverite.com .

FSD Resources