Aramark makes strides to reduce food waste at SCCC

There is a good chance that the Ammerman campus will see its greenest spring semester yet in terms of food waste.

According to Aramark, the campus’ food vendor, there was a reduction in food waste by 322 pounds, or 24 percent, from fall 2017 to fall 2018. The 2019 spring semester was showing a 14 percent reduction in waste in comparison to spring 2018 earlier in the semester.

“Waste and overproduction are a chief concern of our dining operation,” said Rob Reinhard, Aramark’s dining services manager. “We make every effort to minimize waste in our operations by keeping accurate production and consumption records.”

Dining Services on campus uses a computerized menu management system which allows staff to accurately determine just how much food is being purchased on a daily basis. By doing this, it is able to plan for the next day’s menu through careful monitoring of which foods are purchased more than others, Reinhard said.

Preparing smaller batches is also essential to minimizing the waste produced, and it allows customers to be presented with a fresh meal while making sure the kitchen isn’t overproducing food.

“Any items that are remaining are discounted at each dining location to help eliminate waste, and provide value to the students,” Reinhard said.

Perishable goods are sold for very cheap at around 5 p.m. on the Ammerman campus, as the staff begins handing out larger portions of food before closing for the day. They’ll even go as far as giving students a BOGO discount — two trays of sushi for the price of one, for example — to make sure they are throwing out as little food as possible.

Head Supervisor Bernadette Figueiras says she “cries every time she sees the tossed food.”

“Fresh food like pizzas goes in the garbage at the end of the day,” Figueiras said.

Aramark states on its website that it is partnered with The Food Donation Connection, a non-profit that connects it with more than 8,000 shelters, food pantries and community centers to try and decrease their waste. Ammerman campus showcases its very own food pantry that’s always collecting nonperishables that can be purchased in bulk on campus for those in need.

Aramark has made many “biodegradable efforts,” said Christopher Adams, vice president of student services when asked about how Aramark fits into the Ammerman campus’ eco-friendly agenda. He noted how students were much more “socially aware” about such subjects, and praised Aramark for its receptiveness to these concerns. Through its contract with Aramark, SCCC has been able to noticeably reduce food waste in the last few years.

“In fact,” said Reinhard, “we have very little waste in our campus locations.”

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