Chef Baxter

4 Ways To Reduce Food Waste In Your Kitchen

Here’s some food for thought: the United States discards nearly 80 million tons of food every year.1 That’s a whopping 219 pounds of waste per person, per year.2 And restaurants? Combined with grocery stores and food service companies, they’re responsible for 40% of that waste.3

Wild, right? As chefs—and fellow humans—it’s our responsibility to focus as much about what we put on the plate as what we put in our waste bins. So how can we make a lasting impression without the lasting footprint? Nestlé Professional CEC, Chef Ryan Baxter, is here with four small but mighty ways to take a big bite out of food waste in your kitchen.

1. Accurate Forecasting

Ordering the appropriate amount of food for the business you expect is crucial to reducing the amount of food wasted in your kitchen. “There’s no value in holding inventory of products that you don’t use or make money on,” says Chef Baxter. “So it’s important to follow good practices around ordering, understanding your usages well and accurately forecasting your needs.” And that all starts before any food enters the kitchen.

2. Proper Storage

Having a clear understanding of how your product needs to be stored is key to maintaining its quality and shelf life. “At Minor’s, we absolutely not only advise our customers on closed shelf life, which is on all of our communications materials, but more importantly, we advise them on how they can maximize their product’s opened shelf life based on local FDA guidelines,” Chef Baxter explains. “Once that product is opened, it’s very hard for us to understand what happened to that product,” he continues. Therefore, the more you can minimize outside disruptors (germs, temperature, handling, etc.), the more you can maximize the life of your product—and in turn, your investment.

3. Creative Application (and Utilization!)

The secret weapon in our kitchen? Versatile products. Like our Vegan Alfredo sauce—you can use it as a sauce on pastas and pizzas, as a base in enchiladas, and as a thickener for soups and chowders. “When a product has that level of versatility and can be greatly applied, the customer benefits, the operator benefits, and food waste is reduced,” explains Chef Baxter. “You’re also finding really creative ways to use that product in dishes which is truly a bonus for your customer.” It’s a win-win-win.

Another way to win: speed scratch cooking. Gone are the days you need 6-7 raw ingredients to complete the first step of your recipe. By using high-quality bases and reductions, you eliminate the need for those additional ingredients and the possibility of them going to waste.

4. Intentional Packaging

Believe it or not, bigger is not always better. As an operator, it’s important to think about not only how much product you need, but how often you need it. “Nestle spends a lot of time thinking about the right size of packaging. As it relates to waste, right size matters,” says Chef Baxter. Once the lid is off, the opened shelf life starts ticking. A larger amount of product may save you money in the short term, but if you don’t have a plan for how to use it all up before it expires, you end up wasting food and money.

What steps are you taking to reduce food waste in your kitchen? Share them with us on Instagram @minorsfoodservice. For more on Minor’s and our sustainability efforts, click here.

1-2 Environmental Protection Agency
3 Feeding America

The information provided is based on a general industry overview, and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.