For the second year in a row, the Food Waste Stops With Me program will be sharing resources and information with representatives from the restaurant, food service and hospitality industries at the Northwest Food Show to be held at the Portland Expo Center on Sunday, April 14, and Monday, April 15.
Food Waste Stops With Me launched one year ago as a partnership between Metro, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and city and county governments to provide information, resources and technical assistance to food service businesses to help reduce food waste.
So far the partnership has produced a series of webinars, workshops, videos and podcasts focused on preventing and reducing food waste. The partnership has helped connect more than 1000 businesses to local government waste reduction specialists for free, on-site assistance to prevent food waste, donate edible surplus food and set up successful composting programs.
At its booth at this year’s Northwest Food Show, Food Waste Stops With Me will be offering the “Take Two Bar” provided by Grand Central Bakery. The company created a bar cookie for this trade show from leftover dough on a shortbread base; the square-shaped bars further reduce unused ingredients.
“It’s something that can be easily eaten in hand, utilizing some of our classic pastry flavors,” said Cait Daniels, commissary pastry manager for Grand Central.
This approach is not new for Grand Central Bakery. For more than a decade, it has used leftover croissant dough to produce its Monkey Muffins, its best-selling product. That said, it is uncertain if the Take Two Bar will be available to customers after the Northwest Food Show. “At this time, we don’t produce enough waste” to create larger quantities of these bars, said Daniels.
Through resources provided by Food Waste Stops With Me, Grand Central Bakery and other businesses are finding creative ways to reduce the amount of food waste they create and put unused food to better uses than throwing away in the garbage. These efforts can include separating and measuring waste to identify opportunities for reduction, serving smaller portions, providing surplus edible food to food donation programs, and composting what is left.
Also included at the Northwest Food Show will be “Ask the Experts” consultations on ways to incorporate sustainability practices into a restaurant’s operations, along with an educational seminar on ways for businesses to set up successful food donation programs.
Last July the Metro Council adopted a policy requiring food service businesses to keep food scraps and other uneaten food out of their garbage. The policy will be phased in starting in March 2020 with larger restaurants and grocery stores, eventually bringing in smaller businesses and elementary and secondary schools by late 2022. Metro is working with local governments throughout the greater Portland area to provide technical assistance and other resources to help implement the new policy.
Those who work with food service businesses and have questions or need ideas on ways to reduce and prevent food waste can visit FoodWasteStopsWithMe.org or call Metro at 503-234-3000 for information and assistance.