Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Why You Should STOP Catering Your Events

With the holidays behind us it is time to reflect on the absurdities of excess we experienced over the holiday season. The biggest one of all being all that leftover food that gets thrown out from parties and events when there is just sooo much leftover.

Food Waste in Canada
I'm sure you've heard by now that food waste is a major issue, with up to 40% of all food that is produced being wasted. A lot of waste that we see, especially in an institution, is from catered events and conferences. Catering has systemic issues of processing. The age old custom of ensuring you have enough food to feed everyone has turned into an industry practice. Kitchens will now prepare 10-20%  more food than was ordered to ensure they're is enough if everyone on the guest list shows up and in case there are extra people. Combine this with the often tendency of the organizer to order enough food for how many people you invited instead of realistically how many will pull through in the end. This can be as much as 20-30% higher than the actual attendance of the event. This means you can be left with up to 50% extra food being made than needed...time a million events is a lot of food! What happens to that food? Well if it is served food that is left out, it has to be thrown in the garbage!!!! Because it is no longer food safe or allowed to be donated.
Food Rescued from the garbage

Ok I'll admit that the portion of waste associated with conference and events is less than consumers waste at home (47% of food was is from the consumer). But it's still a big enough number that we should do something about it.

So what can you do?
  • Order less, order 20% less than you think you will need to ensure no food is left over 
  • Consider lighter fair, smaller amounts of food that can be more easily eaten 
  • Ask for half, the kitchen can hold back a portion of the food, food that is prepared but not served can still be donated or reused in the kitchen. 
  • Bring containers, or ask for take out containers so guests can take leftovers home. Otherwise, they will be thrown out.
  •  Don't order! Have drinks instead or try potluck style for less formal events. 
Or maybe you could be like me and run around trying to salvage leftovers before caterers return to dispose of them ;) Yum!


Melanie XX

"Waste not, Want not" -Proverb