Case Study: A Food Service Provider’s Holistic Approach to Sustainable Waste Management

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The Last Food Mile Conference
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Food and Beverage Management
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Cummings, Claire

Bon Appétit Management Company (, the University of Pennsylvania’s food service provider, operates more than 500 cafés corporations, universities, and museums in 32 states. Well known as a pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, the connection between food and climate change, farmworker welfare, and food waste reduction. Bon Appétit Waste Specialist Claire Cummings will share examples of both the company’s successes and challenges in fighting waste in the food system. Bon Appétit works first and foremost to prevent waste from happening in the first place. The company achieves source reduction through innovative programs such as Imperfectly Delicious, the first initiative of its kind to work with farmers to rescue imperfect, wholesome produce from going to waste through strategic purchasing and creative cooking. Bon Appétit strives for waste prevention in its kitchens and cafés through stem-to-root cooking techniques, waste tracking, trayless and other educational campaigns, and reusable to-go container programs. At University of Pennsylvania this past year, Bon Appétit was able to achieve a 99.3% reduction in disposable takeout containers for the 2013 to 2014 Academic Year, going from 171,000 clamshells to an impressive 1,167 clamshells used in Residential Dining Cafes. Bon Appétit believes that any food that is left over and still safe to eat after service should be donated to people in need rather than sent to a compost bin. Bon Appétit has been on the forefront of the national food recovery movement and has played an integral role in making food recovery a common practice on college campuses. The company has partnered with organizations such as the Food Recovery Network (FRN) to develop a universal guide to food donation for chefs and managers, and is proud to be the first business to get Food Recovery Certified, a new certification by FRN to recognize businesses that are donating their excess food to people in need.

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