Stop Food Waste Day 2020
Reducing food wastage in schools
We’re all encouraged to adopt eco-friendly habits such as recycling, switching off lights when they’re not in use and taking shorter showers, but reducing food wastage could be one of the key actions we can take to minimise our impact to the environment.
On Stop Food Waste Day 2020, we’re looking at how schools and pupils can reduce food wastage to help protect the environment and save time and money.
Many adults are aware of the smaller measures they can take to help protect the environment, and whilst these efforts should be encouraged, schools need to instil these habits from an early age and make pupils aware of the impact they can make, especially when it comes to wasting food.
Whilst most schools teach pupils about ways in which we can help save the environment, schools and caterers can put these lessons into practice every lunchtime by taking the appropriate measures to ensure that food wastage is kept to a minimum.
Reduce food wastage with cashless catering software
Switching to cashless catering such as pre-ordering software is one of the most effective ways that schools can minimise their environmental impact and reduce food wastage on a larger scale. AMI’s range of pre-ordering software, including Transact, allows pupils of all ages to pre-order their school lunches, sending orders to the kitchen ahead of time to allow catering staff to prepare meals in advance. By informing staff of meal choices in advance, schools can avoid producing too much food and can focus on only preparing what is necessary.
On a primary school level, Transact provides a fun and interactive solution for pupils to pre-order their meal selection during the morning registration process. Pupils can make their selection at a teacher’s PC or interactive whiteboard, sending orders to the kitchen in advance. By giving younger pupils the option to choose their food in a fun and interactive way, pupils are encouraged to take interest and become excited about their food choices, making them more likely to eat all of their lunch and reducing the risk of food being left on the plate.
Pre-ordering school meals also helps reduce food waste by minimising queuing times, allowing pupils to choose their favourite lunch options in advance, ensuring they have access to the food they enjoy, whilst reducing queuing times and giving students adequate time to enjoy their lunch. By improving the dining experience and making lunchtime enjoyable for all pupils, food wastage can be reduced and save schools time and money.
Where food is being wasted in schools
Waste management experts WRAP found that in both primary and secondary schools, the kitchen and canteen areas produced the majority of the total food waste, representing food that is prepared in the kitchen and served, but not eaten in the canteen. In primary schools, the total produced in these two areas was 72%, with an equal split between the kitchen (36%) and canteen (36%). This can be reduced with the implementation of cashless catering software, benefitting staff and pupils.
The organisers of Stop Food Waste Day are encouraging everyone to take the pledge to reduce their food wastage and urge others to do the same. They have found that 33% of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year, whilst 25% of the global food wasted could feed 795 million undernourished people in the world.
How schools can help
Here are some other ways that schools can encourage pupils to reduce their food wastage:
- Serve correct portion sizes- younger children don’t need big portions, therefore if they are given larger quantities of food, they are likely to become too full and leave the majority on their plate, which can be avoided by serving portions appropriate to the child’s age. For older pupils, encourage them to eat smaller portions, and only go back for seconds if they’re still hungry.
- Encourage pupils to discover the flavours they like- years ago, children were often encouraged to eat whatever was given to them, even if they didn’t like that food. If children discover flavours they enjoy and learn their favourite types of food, they are less likely to waste unwanted food and are more likely to clear their plates at lunchtime.
- Encourage school dinners over packed lunches- a recent study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex has found that the provision of free school meals in schools is a useful weapon in the fight against childhood obesity, with school meals providing more nutrition than packed lunches. If pupils are given a range of choices for their lunch, they’re more likely to choose the food they enjoy, whilst schools can monitor the nutritional value of the options provided.
- Promote a calm eating environment- many pupils are likely to get excited about lunchtime, however, if the dining hall is noisy, this can cause an unpleasant eating environment for some pupils, prompting them to avoid spending time in the dining hall, leaving behind the food on their plates.
- Make pupils aware of the issue- especially for older pupils, schools can demonstrate the impact of food wastage on their environment on a wider scale, similarly to Loughborough High who launched a campaign after realising how much food was being thrown out. They started by measuring a week’s waste and then filling the equivalent of black bags (around 20) with paper and card and putting them in the middle of the school hall so pupils saw them when they arrived for assembly. The students were then asked to come up with their ideas for reducing waste.
Visit Stop Food Waste Day’s website to learn more about the campaign.
With the newly renewed prevalence of the food wastage issue, it is becoming more apparent than ever that the education sector needs to do its part to reduce the impact of their catering systems on the planet around us and to promote sustainability in schools.
In a report published by Wrap.Org, it was discovered that food wastage was created across both primary and secondary as a result of a multitude of issues including:
- The absence of ordering systems leading to kitchens over-catering for an unknown number of students
- Students at the end of the queue not being able to receive their food of choice, causing them to be served a meal they did not like and later wasting it
- Pupils not knowing what meal options were available to them
- Lack of flexibility and control over food combinations or menus
However, with the help of pre-ordering technology - which has seen an increase in demand in recent years - schools can crack down on food wastage and make massive savings on their budgets with a tailored and streamlined pre-order system for pupils.
Sustainability is now a vital factor in the fight for the future of our planet and with food wastage accounting for almost a quarter of all man-made greenhouse gases, reducing the number of meals that end up in landfill is of vital importance. In fact, in an article published by Greener Kirkcaldy, it was said that “if food wastage was a country, it would be ranked third after the US and China in terms of greenhouse gas production.” With a pre-order app, school catering teams can know ahead of time which quantity of each meal option to produce before anyone ever steps foot into a queue - creating an immediate reduction in overall food wastage in schools.
We recently discussed on our blog how the wastage of meals is costing schools over £250 million each year, meaning there is more reason than ever to implement pre-ordering into your education environment.
How does pre-ordering reduce the wastage of food?
Pupils can order exactly what they want ahead of lunchtime meaning a faster queuing system as the food is already prepared, over-catering is eliminated and there is reduced contact with other students, which has taken on renewed importance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-order apps are also highly customisable meaning that every aspect of a meal can be altered or removed to suit the student’s personal preferences. This takes away unwanted ingredients that would otherwise be wasted, not to mention the benefits of data trend predictions that can prevent the ordering of unnecessary stock and advanced preparation.
Does pre-ordering sound like something that could benefit your school? Introduce pre-order technology as a seamless addition to your cashless catering system.
Learn more > https://www.amieducation.com/products-and-solutions
As 2020 draws to a close, the ami team is taking a moment to reflect on the past twelve months and look back on some of the great things we've achieved this year, which we couldn't have done without your help.
This year, we've focused on providing useful advice for our customers on safely reopening schools and have been creating exciting new developments to help schools around the world provide pupils with a safe, socially distanced lunchtime. We can't wait to share more information with you in the new year.
New product in development
Over the past year, the AMI team has been working on an exciting new development for secondary schools around the world, offering pupils a contactless lunch experience. Stay tuned for the announcement very soon. Be the first to know >
To help you brush up on your knowledge of cashless catering, we ran FREE one-to-one meetings, training and demonstrations with our Operations Manager, Tony Reeves.
We've published 11 blogs
We launched our education blog back in April this year. Throughout 2020, we've been sharing content on a variety of topics, from why pre-ordering software is crucial for schools to how schools can prioritise nutrition after lockdown.
Evolis Gold Reseller
We aim to provide our customers with the highest level of service, which is why we're proud to have been recognised as an Evolis Gold Reseller, ensuring we offer the utmost level of support and service to the Evolis community. Learn more >
Customer service has been our priority
Providing excellent customer service is at the heart of what we do at ami, which is why in 2020, total time spent on the phone to our customers amounted to 13 days, whilst we ensured that customers waited no longer than 3 minutes to speak to our support team.
As 2020 comes to an end, from the team at ami, we wish you a safe and happy Christmas and look forward to seeing what 2021 brings.