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Three ways to reduce food waste in your care home

As care homes tighten budgets, it is galling to know that up to three quarters of food waste which we bin is safe to eat*. Not only is this unsustainable due to the negative environmental impact it’s having, but it could also be costing your care home a lot of money.

It’s extremely important to pay attention to care home kitchen functionality in order to be able to serve residents with delicious and nutritious meals.

There are steps you can take to reduce food waste in your care home kitchen, and we’re going to give you some tips that will help. 

Keep an accurate inventory

If you don’t already have an inventory system in your care home kitchen, implementing one is likely to cut your food waste dramatically. Food waste

To create an inventory, make a note of the supplies you already have and add anything else that is delivered over time. You should also give each item a use-by date, so you always know which foods to use up first. This will make it much easier for you to look at what stock you have left and plan meals for the coming week accordingly. You’ll also be able to identify gaps in your inventory, so you know exactly when you need to order extra supplies. Not only will this help you to use up ingredients before they go off, but it will also prevent you from over-ordering. 

Make sure ingredients and leftovers are stored properly

To ensure your ingredients and leftovers last, you need to store everything properly. This will greatly reduce the food waste in your care home kitchen.

Mike Hardman from the catering wholesaler Alliance Online told us: “In the UK, it’s against the law to store chilled food above 8°C. I would always recommend keeping your fridge set to 5°C — this will help to guarantee you’re operating within the law. It’s also best to store foods that are raw and ready-to-eat separately. If your care home kitchen only has one fridge, storing raw food below cooked items is the best solution. 

“Cupboard foods can be kept at room temperature. These will have a long shelf life but can spoil once opened. You should always check the ‘once open, consume within X days’ instruction on the packaging. 

“Finally, you should try to set your freezer to -18°C or below, as this will prevent any bacteria growth. The quality of frozen food can depreciate, though — that’s why frozen foods still come with use-by dates.”

Think carefully about portion sizes to avoid food waste

Any food left on your residents’ plates will go straight in the bin. So, if you often end up throwing perfectly good food away, it’s probably time to look at your portion sizes. 

A possible solution is to offer more than one meal size. So, when residents request what they would like to eat for dinner, they can also choose a portion size that fits their appetite. This can make a huge difference.

It’s important we all do our bit for the environment, and cutting your care home’s food waste is a great place to start. Take these tips on board and you’ll start to see results in no time. 


August LTD
Grahame Gardner
Mr Trax Curtain & Blind Solutions
Care Show London
Inspired Inspirations
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