SNA Talks Trash at ANC in Atlanta


SNA's 2017 Annual National Conference (ANC)

The following is the third in a series of news stories exploring the exciting opportunities and events at ANC.

What motivates kids dump food in the trash?

There are many reasons why children in your school district are not finishing the food on their plate or why food is wasted in the kitchen. You have probably heard them all before. There is not enough time to eat, classes are dismissed late, too few meal periods, recess after lunch, class parties before meals, kids unfamiliar with the food served and more.

Additional Food Waste Education Sessions at ANC 2017:

Food Waste Reduction Strategies and Methods
This session will highlight new ideas and approaches to this hot topic.

Share Tables: USDA Policy and Safety Considerations for Success
USDA representatives will provide attendees with information that will allow you to determine if and how share tables could be used in your operations.

Reducing Food Waste
This session will cover ways to reduce the amount of food that is wasted both in the back and front of the house.

Reducing Waste with Food Recovery and Donation Approaches
USDA representatives will provide practical tips to start a food recovery program and explain food safety considerations that are outlined in the Comprehensive Guideline to Food Recovery.

Make Your Lunchroom Even Smarter
Learn the latest strategies to decrease waste and increase participation using the new and improved Smarter Lunchrooms Scorecard from the experts at Cornell.

To deal with this unique challenge and solve these problems, some school directors have been accused of running out of food, menuing something two days in a row and then falsely charged with serving leftovers or just plain told they were serving food that does not taste good or unappealing.

Yet, facts regarding food waste are staring foodservice professionals right in the face. According to the USDA, Americans waste enough food every day to fill a 90,000-seat football stadium. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) goes a step farther, and reports that the U.S. wastes a total of 40% of food every year, which accounts for 20 pounds of food per person every month. That equates to Americans throwing away a whopping $165 billion worth of food every year. If that is not bad enough, all of this uneaten food ends up rotting on landfills, accounting for what the EPA estimates is 20% of U.S. methane emission levels.

Don’t be discouraged, there are things you and your foodservice team can do. At SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC), the Association is offering six educational sessions dedicated to the subject of food waste, dealing with an entire spectrum of new strategies, methods, cost control, food recovery programs and more from experts in the field. SNA Past President Jean Ronnei, SNS, a senior consultant with Pro-Team Foodservice Advisors, along with Joanne Berkenkamp, senior advocate with NRDC Food and Agriculture Program are holding an invigorating education session entitled, “Food Waste: The Latest Movement.”

Register for ANC 2017:

Sound interesting? Registration for ANC is now open. For a complete schedule, special event and general session information, hotel and travel information, visit or ANC video.

“Who’s problem is food waste?” asks Ronnei, a former school nutrition director at St. Paul Public Schools. “School nutrition professionals should care because it’s an environmental issue and we all need to be good stewards of the planet.”

Building on the successful session at SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference in January, Ronnei and Berkenkamp will describe a three-step process to combat food waste, based on the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy. Reduce food waste through improved ordering, prepping and storage; Recover wholesome, uneaten food and donate it to feed people in need and Recycle discarded food for other uses such as animal feed, compost and energy generation.

“It is important to understand why students waste food,” stressed Ronnei.

To reduce the volume of food wasted, Ronnei and Berkenkamp will share with attendees, a two-pronged approach. One is to take steps to reduce what students discard at the end of the lunch period. The other is to reduce the amount of waste that is produced in the kitchen. Doing that, says Ronnei, also will result in savings of money and human resources that can be reinvested into other areas of the operation.

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