14 Dec Better Food at a Better Price
Better Food at a Better Price. Fresh, locally sourced food is great for us and important to our environment — but a myth persists that it’s expensive to produce.
This just isn’t the case.
Truthfully, waste is the real expense in institutional food production.
By reducing and in some cases eliminating food and material waste, you can save money and have happier, healthier customers.
We have helped schools, hospitals and other institutions realize this for more than a decade. For example, we helped Buffalo, N.Y.-based Westminster Community Charter School, a K-8 Charter School, build a sustainable food program. Most noteworthy, our program lowered the school’s average food cost by 15% in 2016. It also saved more than 75% of production waste from landfills. That year, Westminster Community Charter School scratch-cooked; 60% of breakfast, 80% of afternoon snacks, and 100% of lunches.
Better Food at a Better Price. How did we do it?
Reducing waste is the key to having money for higher quality food, therefore we eliminate spoiled food and over-production. We made purchasing more efficient therefore when we increased food quality, we found that more students ate the food, which also eliminated waste.
With more kids excited about eating Westminster’s food every day, we were able to embrace economies of scale. This means that we produced more meals, which enabled us to buy certain ingredients in bulk and save on costs.
Or take our work with Nardin Academy (also in Buffalo). We helped them to set up a waste tracking system for recycling, compost, and landfill waste that resulted in Nardin diverting 86% of its cafeteria waste during the school year. Most importantly, this reduction in waste made the kitchen more efficient. Therefore, Nardin was allowed to buy higher-quality sourced food and green products at a better price. The school went from buying 80% processed foods (with half of its sales coming from snacks and beverages) to a menu made entirely from scratch. As a result 74% of sales coming from well-balanced meals.
This shows that school cafeterias don’t have to rely on sugary, processed junk foods to see a profit. Nardin sold 25% less of it and was still able make enough money to invest in other sustainable activities.
And let’s not forget the deeper value to these programs: our overall health.
I say ‘our’ because we all share in the benefits of a healthier food system that bolsters local food production. Well designed systems are gentler on our environment and ultimately changes kids’ relationships to healthy food for their lifetimes.
So, let me say it again: Local, fresh food does not have to cost you more. If you want to save money or (at stay, at the very least, within your current budget) and see your food quality and kitchen efficiency skyrocket — we can help you. Dip your toes in the water with our one, two or three-day workshops, or reach out to us to schedule and individual consultation.