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Food Waste – Need to pay serious attention!

By PK Mohankumar, Promoter Director, TurnStone Hospitality LLP

Monday, December 16, 2019, 12:45 Hrs  [IST]

The Quantum of Food waste from Hotels & Restaurants Is now assumed serious proportions considering the exponential increase in Urbanization of population across the world. While the Western world has in many ways grappled this issue over the last few decades by bringing the topic onto the main stream conversation in the society and creating huge awareness leading to an institutional drive to curb wastage of Food in all public eateries, It is now our turn here in India rapidly with massive migration of educated young population to the big Cities and towns eventually settling down with lucrative jobs triggering huge consumption and resultant wastage too.

Its rather paradoxical that the biggest threat to public health in most of our cities is the generation of tons of Garbage piled up all over the housing and business Hubs of every city. The challenges are multi -fold in terms of the cause & effect of uncontrolled production, insensitive wastage of cooked food either over plated or excess cooking and worse still is dumping them onto Garbage dumps so visible in most of housing colonies and uptown Business enclaves.

Apart from the macro scenario affecting the entire populace, there are many other related issues which confront the catering industry in general. Among those concerns are the environmental impact - large amount of food cooked (irreversible chemical process) thus becoming organic waste which could easily have been preserved if the excess quantity was not cooked.

It is as simple as that once we look at the raw material be it pulses or cereals or fresh produce all of which could easily be preserved with modern technology and used optimally. In the process of building competitive advantage, many hotels and eatery outlets indulge in excess production of high-quality food to be used more for visual display, feast for the eyes with an eye on top line and bottom line turnover and profits respectively. The hidden cost be it on a moral angle, social responsibility angle or simply from a precious cooked food cost wasted angle is not really accounted for in the P&L analytics of most Hotel and catering business houses as yet.

Cursory references, formats, records, departmental level analysis are in vogue but without any accountability on the outcome of these exercises on measuring food wastage from the main, satellite kitchens besides from the staff cafeteria. I have seen in many of the middle management level review meetings, it is fashionable to highlight on the chart depicting 'Food wastage Report '! While it is indeed gratifying to note that more and more chefs and managers across the Industry are becoming very conscious of Food wastage in Hotels & Restaurants, it is important there is an urgent need for serious R&D, initiate a work culture, and invest in software that drives food intent and cost analysis, beginning from large players with large F& B areas in multiple restaurants to bars & Banquet halls to small street side Boutique upmarket eateries..

The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.

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