Monthly Archives: March 2007

The Produce Project: Day 1–Training

As I mentioned last time, I began my first day working in a supermarket produce department throwing out about 50 pounds of fruit and vegetables. My first task was culling all of the packaged produce with a sell-by date that fell on that day, despite it being 8 a.m.  By the time I had finished throwing […]

March 29, 2007 | Posted in Supermarket, The Produce Project | Comments closed

Restaurant Technology: Our Friend?

I came across this article in Fast Company about Slingshot, a restaurant tracking system made by Avero. Restaurants, especially fast food companies, often point to their technologies like Slingshot to show they’ve trimmed their waste. While that’s usually true, by reading between the lines we can see that these systems can create another kind of waste. Paraphrasing the western […]

March 27, 2007 | Posted in Casino, Restaurant, Technology | Comments closed

Sunday Portions

I recently lauded T.G.I. Friday’s “Right Portion, Right Price” menu. The New York Times addressed the same topic in Sunday’s business section examination of restaurant portions and prices. I’m most interested in portion size because serving customers 2,000-calorie dinners often means that as much food finds its way to the dumpster as diners’ stomachs. This “plate waste” […]

March 25, 2007 | Posted in Restaurant | Comments closed

Chicken Chat

This is the last of two updates before I get back to posting about my experiences working in a grocery store produce section (“The Produce Project”). On Wednesday, we talked about supermarkets throwing away rotisserie chickens after five hours. I asked Dr. Angela Fraser, a food safety expert at N.C. State University about this topic and she e-mailed that North […]

March 23, 2007 | Posted in Food Safety, Supermarket | Comments closed

Composting Comestibles

In other news, I’ve started composting food scraps in earnest. Wednesday, I set up my compost bin, which looks like this: While I’d been composting sporadically with a half-hearted pile, I’m fully invested now that I have an actual bin. I keep a Ben & Jerry’s pint by the sink to store all of my scraps. This container seems […]

March 23, 2007 | Posted in Household | Comments closed

For the Birds

While buying a rotisserie chicken during a recent 9 p.m. shopping run, I faced a dilemma.    On my previous trip to the store, the chickens were sold out because they were on sale. But, the clerk told me, on all other days, you can get discounted birds if they’ve sat for four hours. Knowing I was going […]

March 21, 2007 | Posted in Food Safety, Supermarket | Comments closed

Small Step for Waste, Giant Leap for Restaurants

I have to give credit where it’s due. I’ve railed against restaurants for putting profits ahead of waste avoidance and health. I doubted whether any restaurant would lower prices and portion size. Well, T.G.I. Friday’s has done just that with their “Right Portion, Right Price” menu. Not surprisingly, the March 6 press release illustrates that the […]

March 20, 2007 | Posted in Restaurant | Comments closed

The Produce Project: Day 1–Packaged Waste

My first day of work in a supermarket produce department began at 8 a.m. Ten minutes into it, I was throwing away food. They’d get to the orientation later, I was told, we had to “cull” all of the “out-of-code” products. They got me an apron and pointed me to the wall-length cold case of packaged produce. Basically, I had to pull all […]

March 19, 2007 | Posted in Supermarket, The Produce Project | Comments closed

The Produce Project

In researching wasted food, I’ve spoken with supermarket spokespeople and executives who cling to the party line: ‘We really don’t waste much.’ Yet, I’ve also seen stores donate shopping carts full of unsellable but edible food while on food recovery runs. Imagine what happens at stores without established donation programs. To move past grocery stores’ […]

March 15, 2007 | Posted in Supermarket, The Produce Project | Comments closed

The Home Front

I recently came across stats for food waste in Orange County, North Carolina, where I live. My immediate reaction–Wow! It seems we waste a fair amount of food in N.C.’s O.C. In 2005, food waste was one-fifth of the county’s waste stream, its largest component. Considering overall waste for the county was 56,303 tons, 11,091 tons […]

March 14, 2007 | Posted in Household, Restaurant, Stats | Comments closed