We take our food waste management seriously
Still today, about one-fifth of all restaurant food items in Finland ends up in a waste bin. When Hotel Sveitsi received The Green Key certificate in early 2019, one of our key commitments was to reduce food waste. In our restaurants we continuously work to reduce the environmental impact of our operations by monitoring and reducing food waste. Innovative app Hävikkimestari – “the waste master” – has been truly helpful in this ongoing battle.
Using innovation to battle food waste
Hävikkimestari is an application in which we record all of our food waste and sources of where the waste comes from. Food waste occurs when food items get spoiled, dishes are wrongly prepared or there are leftovers. Waste also tends to be generated during the events when the actual number of participants is smaller than it should have been. The app collects a wide variety of information about food waste: it indicates how much waste has been generated and the nature of the waste. It is important to know if the waste occurs from an already prepared dish or whether the food items have been spoiled in storage. The app also helps to analyse if the food items have been over-produced, or simply have been on display in the buffet and can no longer be used, or if the ingredients purchased for a specific dish remained unused.
To help manage food waste from the buffet, we are now able to better predict and manage waste by estimating the number of guests in the app and how this number is likely to affect the wastage. For example, by increasing the number of dining guests we can usually effectively reduce wood wastage. Hävikkimestari also estimates the cost of wasted food. “In practice, the app shows us how much money we are throwing into the bin each week. This number is difficult to ignore when you think of the profitability of our business”, says Hotel Sveitsi’s Chef Jenni who is also our Green Key ambassador.
Food waste strategies for short and long term
“On a weekly basis, Hävikkimestari monitors the cost and nature of the food waste – what has ended up in a waste bin during the past week and for which reasons. It’s a big challenge and requires us to take small but steady steps in the right direction. It’s always a good idea to understand where most waste comes from and try to find a root cause. For example, the app might tell you that a lot of carbs have been wasted during lunch for a period of time. Knowing that we can plan and prepare the side dishes accordingly. Then we are able to closely monitor the impact our new strategy in the next few weeks. Each week we try to target something different, and even small changes can make a big difference”, says Chef Jenni about the impact of the app at Hotel Sveitsi.