Food Waste Management – How Some Local Stores Do More

By MEGHAN MEIER

As the U.S. pushes toward a greener environment, some local grocery stores and restaurants have begun making a business of developing ways to preserve and dispose their excess food waste in a more productive manner.

For one Marietta restaurant, conserving and monitoring inventory is a main priority.

“That’s your whole plan of food cost and everything is obviously not waste,” said
William Page, managing partner of Theo’s Brother’s Bakery in Marietta on West
Cobb Avenue.  “You try to order correctly.”

Precautionary preparation is a secondary measure to eliminating food waste in a restaurant. In order to preserve foods and avoid spoiling, observing the shelf life and
preparing foods accordingly are just two methods to preventing waste.

Bacterial inspections of meats and produces are checked regularly by the bakery’s chefs
to protect human health and the preservation of their food.

Weekly rituals for the bakery involve shipments of produce and fish four- to- five
times a week, while meats are delivered two- to- three times a week in vacuum-tight
packages for preservation.

Theo’s Brother’sBakery is also trying to promote a green environment with its meats and salads.

“We are offering in the bakery all natural chicken, some organic salads, grass- feed
beef,” said Page.

Similarly, at a Marietta Kroger, the perishable department uses a conservative dating policy to easily determine what remains in storage and what needs to be eliminated. Managers and assistants routinely check all products for expiration dates two- to- three times daily to better conserve and protect human health, according to Kroger Manager Dan Portier.

Operating on a larger scale, Kroger grocery stores must adjust their inventory according
to population fluctuation on a daily basis. Because weekdays are less congested, managers and employers will not put as much food on the shelf to preserve the foods integrity until the weekend rush.

Before becoming a Kroger employee, each individual must undergo a five-part web exercise to educate and familiarize the underlining basics of food safety.

More recently, Kroger has begun to facilitate the FAST program (Foods At Safe Temperatures), which will enable employees to better transport Kroger products
from transportation trucks to stationary freezers within the store.

“It’s all about making sure we got good co-chain management when we unload products
from the truck and directly into the freezer,” said Portier.

Reducing the percentage of spoiled food waste is another step Kroger is taking toward
waste management. Compost companies work collectively with local Kroger grocery
stores as they gather spoiled and rotten produce into containers for appropriate disposal. Collaborative efforts between Kroger and compost companies are still at the testing stages.

Working under the Cobb County Health Department, Theo’s Brother’s Bakery follows rigid
guidelines pertaining to the preparation and disposal of food. All employees including management positions must take a serve-safe class that educates them all in the rules and regulations of the culinary business.

In addition to procuring a greener environment, Kroger donates excess food to
local food banks. With the exception of fish, edible meats and packaged goods
are ready-packaged and refrigerated for food banks to claim the remaining food.

To establish a better connection between the grocery store and the food bank,
Kroger purchased refrigerated trucks that allowed all food items to be separated and categorized fo product integrity during transportation  to the food bank, said Portier.

Theo’s Brother’s Bakery donates leftover bread to a local church and is considering a holiday dinner, which would provide food for the homeless.

“ We are thinking about doing a Thanksgiving thing this year,” said Page. “We are going
to try to do something a little better and help the people out there.”

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