Keeping food out of landfills has long been a critical part of Bon Appétit Management Company’s mission of food service for a sustainable future. Bon Appétit is consequently proud to announce its new partnership with the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a student-operated nonprofit working on college campuses to curb food waste and end hunger. Bon Appétit and FRN will join forces in recovering surplus food that would otherwise be wasted from campus dining halls and delivering it to local shelters to combat hunger in the surrounding community.
Since launching in September 2011, FRN’s student volunteers have recovered a staggering 136,000 pounds of food from university dining operations on the 21 campuses where it has chapters, the equivalent of 104,000 meals. Bon Appétit will continue to support FRN’s efforts in three ways:
BAMCO Foundation West Coast Fellow and Bon Appétit waste expert Claire Cummings is working with FRN’s Co-Founder and Special Projects Coordinator, Rebecca Kagan, on a feasibility study that will give students and staff tools to determine how much food from dining operations is recoverable. They are also collaborating on a Campus Food Recovery Guide that will walk students and food service providers — not just Bon Appétit — through the process of launching a food recovery program. It will address frequently asked questions and concerns raised about food donation such as food safety and liability.
Helping interested students and staff at Bon Appétit-serviced colleges and universities in starting a FRN chapter. The BAMCO Foundation’s three Fellows, who perform educational outreach about sustainable food systems on college campuses for the company, have already launched food recovery programs at Whittier College in the Los Angeles area and American University in Washington, D.C., and more are in the works.
FRN works exclusively with universities, but is frequently contacted by non-university businesses and groups interested in donating food. Bon Appétit has shared its extensive research and institutional knowledge of other food recovery programs with FRN so the students can assist those would-be donors appropriately.
Bon Appétit has long attacked food waste through myriad approaches, starting with its pioneering introduction of trayless dining at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in 2005. Since launching its Low Carbon Diet program in 2007, aimed at shrinking its carbon “foodprint,” the company has managed to divert 40% of its food waste from landfills. Bon Appétit’s from-scratch cooking philosophy decreases food waste in the kitchen by using bones and vegetable scraps for making stock and soups; what it can’t use is composted (where programs are available) or, at some accounts, sent back to farms to feed happy pigs. Its practice of cooking meals to order results in few unsold, unusable items at the end of a meal. However, overly generous estimates for catered events sometimes result in tasty leftovers such as entrees, whole-grain salads, and baked goods. In addition to partnering with FRN, Bon Appétit has recently teamed with Feeding America to pilot food donations generated by their corporate accounts. Feeding America is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, with more than 200 member food banks and 61,000 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.
“We would far prefer that our food be eaten than wasted,” said Maisie Greenawalt, vice president of strategy for Bon Appétit. “Wasted food represents wasted resources — soil nutrients, a farmer’s labor, animals that were raised for meat. Meanwhile, there are hungry people all over America. We are proud to work with the Food Recovery Network students to help feed the needy in our communities.”
“The vast majority of college campuses have no food recovery program whatsoever,” said Rebecca Kagan, Co-founder of the Food Recovery Network. “We’re hoping to change that fact. Not only is Bon Appétit a fantastic partner on the colleges where they work, but the guide that we’re developing with Bon Appétit will be an invaluable resource in helping us expand to hundreds of other colleges across the country.”
More info at Bon Appétit Management Company.