With reduced demand in the service industry, some fresh food suppliers are experiencing high inventory levels. This is resulting in the delivery of products that have been in storage for longer than normal. As described by Leanpath, the delivery of products with a reduced shelf life can impact quality and pose challenges to businesses that are already experiencing stress during the pandemic. To address this, kitchen staff can increase their focus on delivery inspections, and become nimbler with handling products of varying quality.
Careful inspection of deliveries will address issues before they arise. In collaboration with vendors, culinary teams can clearly establish quality specifications for deliveries, and check that these are met upon arrival. Leanpath recommends designating individuals on the team who will review incoming shipments to reduce confusion and ensure consistency. Once products are accepted from a vendor, they often become the responsibility of the recipient, regardless of freshness.
There are a number of strategies that commercial kitchens can employ to reduce waste with food that has been accepted. RecyclingWorks offers Reduction Strategies to support these efforts, including the following tips:
- Practice proper storage techniques and clearly label items that should be used first.
- Take frequent inventory to evaluate product quality and purchasing needs.
- Shift offerings to meet ingredient quantity and quality; for example, over-ripe fruit may no longer be appealing on its own, but can be incorporated into pastries, puddings, or smoothies.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) assists businesses and institutions with recycling, reuse, and food waste diversion through composting and food donation. RecyclingWorks offers meal planning strategies, food procurement and purchasing tips, and best management practices for food donation to help businesses in Massachusetts donate surplus food. To speak to a recycling and food waste diversion expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.