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 that lowered the school's average food cost by 15% in 2016. It also saved more than 75% of production waste from landfills. That year, 60% of breakfast, 80% of afternoon snacks, and 100% of lunches were scratch cooked.
How did we do it? We reduced waste, which is the key to having money for higher quality food. We eliminated spoiled food and over-production. We made purchasing more efficient. And 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. This reduction in waste, as well as making the kitchen more efficient, made it possible for Nardin to buy higher quality food and green products. 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, with 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, is 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 our
one, two or three-day workshops
, or reach out to us to schedule an individual consultation.