When is the last time you asked to take leftovers home from a restaurant? Today, more and more chefs and restaurateurs do not want to see good food go to waste, and encourage the idea of diners taking food home that they haven’t finished. But it wasn’t always this way, and to this day, many diners are still not comfortable with the practice.
According to the Smithsonian Institute’s blog Food & Think, the custom of using “doggie bags” started in the U.S. in the 1940’s during the Second World War, when pet owners were encouraged to feed table scraps rather than pet food to their dogs. And in 1943, San Francisco cafes started an initiative against animal cruelty by offering patrons “Pet Pakits” — cartons designed specifically to carry home leftovers for their pets. Around that same time, one Seattle restaurant provided diners with waxed paper bags labeled “Bones for Bowser.” Restaurants around the country started to follow suit, and by the mid 1950’s, doggie bags went into production. Before long, people were requesting doggie bags to take home food for themselves rather than their pets.
Fact: There are 7 billion people on this planet (estimated to grow to 9 billionby 2050), and about 925 million of those people are starving. You might be shocked and horrified to know that annually, approximately 1/3 of all the food produced for human consumption is actually wasted (as in, thrown in the garbage). That’s the equivalent of 1.3 billion tons of food, enough to feel 3 billion people (Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN).
Food Waste is something that occurs toward the back end of the food chain, meaning, at the retail and consumer level. In general, the richer the nation, the higher its per capita rate of wasted food. In the *U.S., nearly 8% of food is lost in production, the food industry loses 4%, supermarkets are responsible for 6%, restaurants contribute 15% of the food in landfills, and households throw away nearly 25% of the food they buy.
Let’s break it down. According to FAO, globally 345 million tons of food are wasted at the consumer level– that is, in our homes. That number varies in different regions of the world. So where does the U.S. stand? And further, where do WE as consumers stand? In Latin America consumers waste 55 lbs/person/year; European consumers waste 209 lbs/person/year; and in North America, food wasted by consumers comes to 253 lbs/person/year. We waste more food in North America than any other region in the world.
The good news is that 60% of our food waste at home is avoidable. It basically comes down to 2 things: 1. stop buying more food than we need, and 2. stop cooking too much at mealtimes.
Solving the problem though is not as simple as just asking people to “reduce your food waste.” We all need to first identify WHY we are throwing food away, and then we can start working on our own solutions. We all have personal reasons why we are wasting / throwing so much of our food away. Some things to consider:
Are we buying too much because we can’t remember what we already have at home? This leads to the next problem which is that we are not able to use what we have before it goes bad or spoils. One solution is to plan our menus and make lists — this is one of the most effective ways we can cut wastage AND food bills.
Maybe we stayed late at work or made last minute plans to eat out several nights in a row. The fresh food we had planned for those days goes uneaten, and eventually may go bad. Storing foods correctly could prevent spoilage, and keep foods fresh longer.
Are we overbuying because we are being seduced by supermarket bargains and bulk packaging?
Another reason for waste is that many people take the “use by” dates literally. This date only communicates peak freshness, not that food is unsafe and needs to be tossed.
Are we cooking the right amounts for ourselves and our family?
If we do have leftovers, are we storing them correctly in the fridge or freezer? When we forget to eat or use the leftovers, we end up scraping perfectly edible food into the garbage without thinking twice.
Here is video of Selina Juul’s TEDx talk on food waste. Selina is the Founder of the Stop Wasting Food movement in Denmark.
There are plenty of other things that we can do to prevent waste like growing our own fruits and vegetables, sharing with neighbors, and being careful not to over order when we eat out. There’s even an app — Love Food Hate Waste — that allows us to easily keep track of food planning, shopping, cooking meals and making the most of leftovers.
Innovative packaging can help consumers buy and use food in portions to match their needs and reduce food waste from leftovers.
Coming soon: Give those dented apples and crooked cucumbers a chance — tips for reducing waste at the retail level.
When it comes to lunch boxes, you always have plenty of options and it is not always easy to pick yours. Here is something to help you out a little. First of all, ditch the plastic or foam clamshells. Not only foam containers are about to be banned anyway (read more about this here), but plastic containers are not Eco-friendly and are terrible for the environment. When you choose your takeout solutions – the ones you want to offer your customers – make sure you go for Eco-friendly ones.
Are you looking for an easy way to pack your food to go, something that could help you transport different meals all together and keep your food safe? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at those pretty, yet functional, takeout round containers. Microwavable, grease resistant and even stackable, they are perfect to transport any type of food home or even to work. Soup, salad, past… Just name it!
The best part is that as they are stackable, you can prepare lunch combinations, put them in one of these amazing takeout lunch boxes and carry them all together. Big enough to fit a box for your appetizer, a box for your entree and even a box for your dessert, this takeout lunch box is the perfect to-go solution and guess what, it is Eco-friendly! 100% recyclable, containers and lunch boxes make a great couple and you just can’t be disappointed in them.
If you are looking for square takeout boxes instead of the round buckets, the takeout lunch box can also fit those beautiful Kray boxes. Brown or white and available in many different sizes, they make it really easy to offer very personalized solutions to all of your customers!
Think out of the box and start preparing delicious combination to be taken-out, you will make your customers very happy.
On June 27th, we talked in our article New York Foam Ban Coming Soon about how NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been taking initiatives to try and make New York City more environmentally friendly by following California action and ban Styrofoam and foam food takeout containers.
Polystyrene foam – referred to as Styrofoam – is a cheap, light and strong material mostly used for takeout food containers. It is however extremely bad for the environment as it not recyclable, mostly ends up in landfills and lives for over 500 years. This is why about a hundred cities – including San Francisco, Seattle and Portland – have already banned foam food containers. In its last legislative session the New York Council also unanimously voted the ban of Styrofoam containers, making NYC the largest city in America to implement such a ban.
This ban is however a compromise for now and will only take effect next year. Why? Opponents of the ban, mostly container manufacturers, say that such a ban will hurt small business who rely on foam for its low cost and won’t be able to afford more Eco-friendly solutions. Dart Container Corporation, one of the largest makers of foam products, spent almost $1 million with the American Chemistry Council to try to block legislation and stop the ban. They managed to get a deadline – January 1rst, 2015 – to prove to the sanitation commissioner that foam can be collected and recycled in an economical way – something that has not been successfully done by any municipality so far. If they can’t prove it by this deadline, the law will take effect in July 2015.
More and more cities are taking the Eco-friendly direction when it comes to food containers and your city might be the next one to implement the ban. Chicago for instance is already also proposing a ban on the containers.
If your business uses foam products it is time to go ahead of the ban and move on to more Eco-friendly products. If you are nervous that your cost are going to increase dramatically, don’t worry. There are plenty of affordable Eco-friendly options that you can take a look at. Not only your customers will love your new Green image, but your image will also get better, allowing you to slightly increase your prices and cover the pricing difference.
One of the most economical Eco-friendly option you can go for is of course sugarcane.
Light, resistant and cheap, sugarcane product also have a very upscale image and are 100% compostable.
Take a look at our sugarcane products at www.packnwood.com and take your first step towards sustainability!
Christmas may be over – as well as the Holiday season – but as you may be aware, Valentine’s Day is once again just around the corner and now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you are going to do for your loved ones and your special someone.
Of course, there is the classic dozen roses’ bouquet and box of chocolates but wouldn’t it be great if the present was a tiny bit more original this year? It is always good to show your partner that your love isn’t generic and think a little outside of the box.
Of course, chocolate treats are always appreciated but why not get something that is a bit more sophisticated than regular chocolates? Yes, I am talking about French macarons! It will still be something your lover can eat and enjoy but is also a great to show that she/he isn’t generic.
Macarons are delicious French mini cookies sandwiches that are filled with ganache or buttercream. Very delicate, they are becoming more and more popular every day in America and all over the world.
Now especially on Valentine’s Day, presentation is everything and the box you will present your macarons in is just as important as the taste of the treats!
Luckily, your macaron packaging options are very diverse and you are sure to find the perfect beautiful and Eco-friendly gift box in no time!
And if you are trying to impress your partner, you can also try to bake your macarons yourself! What more romantic than red heart-shaped macarons for Valentine’s Day? If you like that idea, you can check out this blog article that gives you a great tutorial on how to make them from scratch: click here!