There are more than 900 nursing homes in Norway that account for 40 000 occupants. 80% of the care centers occupants are long-term residents. That means there are approximately 11.6 million hot meals served annually. Elderly care centers produce nearly 72% of all food waste produced in the public sector.

We are here to help! In this post, you will find tips on how to make food management in care centers more sustainable and how to reduce the amount of food being wasted.

Collect data

Perhaps the most important step, collect data and analyze results! Start by taking measurements. Get to know the scale of the food waste in your facility and control your progress over time.

This also includes observations. Do you know which kind of meals and what type of food are discarded the most by elderly care center residents? Is it meat / vegetarian / vegetables / pasta or desserts?

Identify at which stage the food is wasted the most: 

  • Storing – improper storage temperature and missed expiration dates
  • Preparation – leftovers after the preparation process 
  • Serving – serving too big portions

What kind of details can help you to reduce the amount of food being wasted?

  • Order food in accordance with current capacity. If you cooperate with Central Kitchen in your Municipality, make sure you update a number of the residents regularly.
  • Do nursing home residents eat less than expected? If you are observing a large amount of discarded food, review the recipes you use and make changes to the number of ingredients.
  • Research from the University of Stavanger shows that replacing dinnerware in elderly care centers from white to colored increases food intake by care center residents. That could help in both malnutrition problems prevention as well as reducing food waste.

TotalCtrl introduces software that improves inventory management in the nursing home. Gain control, make food management easier and faster, reach sustainable goals, and get valuable time to focus on helping patients that need you.

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Barnehager står for omlag 12% av matsvinnet i offentlig sektor. Er det noen måte å løse dette problemet på? Vi skal nå gå gjennom noen enkle tiltak og steg som har hjulpet våre klienter redusere matsvinn i sin barnehage. 

Rester

Dette er et monumentalt steg innenfor effektiv reduksjon av matsvinn. Barn er tross alt bevisste skapninger med en sult for kunnskap. Involver dem i prosessen og vis dem hvordan en kan måle matsvinn. Analyser hvor mye mat som kaster, og definer hvilke som kastes hyppigst. Evaluer om dette kan brukes i andre retter, eller om det bør byttes ut med noe annet.

Eksempler?

• Lakserester kan spises dagen derpå som frokost på  brødskiven eller som en siderett til middagen.

• Grønnsaker kan brukes i omeletter

• Tørt brød kan gjøres om til krutonger

Del kunnskapen og praktiske løsningene

Organiser «workshops» og snakk med barna om deres matvaner og preferanser. Spør dem om hva de liker og ikke liker med maten i barnehagen. Kanskje det er noe som kan forbedres i den neste matplanen, og gjør dem mer entusiastiske rundt temaet.

Simplifiser oppskrifter og lær barna om hvordan man lager handlelister. Dette er det første steget i å implementere gode matvarevaner tidlig.

Om du har mulighet, ta med barna til kjøkkenet og vis dem hvordan man oppbevarer mat og hvordan en maksimerer dens levetid.

Digitalisering

Det er fortsatt veldig vanlig at flere institusjoner i offentlig sektor benytter seg av utdaterte metoder når det kommer til det administrative ved varelageret. Her bruker en fortsatt ofte penn og papir, og benytter seg lite av automatisering.

TotalCtrl leveres med smarte funksjoner som gir deg total kontroll over matvarelageret. Bare importer fakturaen du får fra leverandørene dine, sjekk levering og registrer det du bruker. Verktøyet holder automatisk oversikt over prisvariasjoner, gir deg sanntids varekontroll og varsler deg før maten utløper. Den hjelper deg med å spare tid, kutte kostnader og forhindrer matsvinn. – og dette gjennom digitalisering og automatisering av tidkrevende oppgaver.

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Food waste is one of the biggest tragedies of our time. We use the natural environment and human effort to produce food and nearly 30% of what we produce goes to the trash bin.
Food leftovers that go to the landfill emit significant amounts of methane and carbon dioxide which contribute to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. It also affects the landscape that we live in. Each of us has an impact on the amount of food wasted, But municipalities hold the power to change the way we handle the waste.

Let’s have a look on what your municipality can do about food waste:

Recycling systems

Providing proper recycling for a municipality is a necessity, but what specifically can one do with leftovers? Food leftovers can be turned into bioenergy during the decomposition process. Cooperation with food waste management companies is an efficient method to ensure that all of the organic leftovers will be turned into bioenergy.

Educational campaigns

Providing educational campaigns amongst society and especially at schools is crucial. Increased awareness will turn into less food waste generated by households. This is a long-term plan, but it’s totally worth investing in it!

Cooperation between Government and Food Industry

The Food Industry is responsible for 46% of food loss. Therefore, cooperation between the industry and the authorities is extremely important. The government should be the leading force in executing change, by setting goals and introducing laws and regulations. An important aspect is financing support in the introduction of sustainable technologies and supporting initiatives undertaken by industry.

Food banks

Food banks collect food from entrepreneurs and supermarkets. They store it in warehouses or hand it over immediately if it is food with a short use-by date. Food banks donate food to aid organizations that run shelters or deliver food packages to the people in need.

Introducing food inventory management Systems in public institutions

The biggest contributors to food waste in the public sector are elderly care centers with as much as 71% of the waste and 12% of both schools and kindergartens. Those amounts can be significantly reduced by implementing suitable inventory software.

With TotalCtrl Inventory, you can reach the goal of reducing food waste and have a real impact on the future of our planet!

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Cooking and preparing food is one of the most common activities we do at home. According to statistics, an average European spends 1 hour daily on meal preparation and 1 hour 45 minutes on eating every day. That’s a lot! One of the things you can do to help yourself in this daily task is good pantry organization. 

In this article, you will find tips on how to organize your pantry and how to store dry food properly to extend its freshness

Products such as flour, oats, seeds, pasta, and rice should be kept at room temperature, so you can easily keep them in kitchen cabinets and drawers. It’s very important to conserve dry products from moisture and insects. The best solution for that is an airtight plastic container or glass jar. You can use glass jars and bottles that you already have at home or buy new ones. 

Except for the appearance of the pantry, there are few important technical issues you should be aware of.

Make sure to finish all that you have, before refilling containers, so this way you will avoid the situation when the container is half full with fresh product and a half with one that expires soon. 

Choose the size of the container according to your needs. Products that you use often, store in big containers, and those ones you use rarely in small ones instead.  

The expiration date of dry products is usually long, but always make sure how much is left while buying them. 

Keep dry products away from the oven and dishwasher. This type of devices will heat food unnecessarily 

How to store seasonings?

Seasonings just like other dry products are good to store in dry, dark, and cool places. The best solution is to pour spices from paper packages that don’t protect them from moisture into airtight containers. If you choose small glass jars, it will be easier for you to search for specific spices when needed. 

How long are seasonings kept fresh? Ground spices should not be stored for more than six months and the storage time of unground spices is longer. However, the best way is to check for freshness by the smell.

Kitchen moths – unwelcome guests in your kitchen. 

We usually bring them from the store. So after opening the package make sure if the contents look and smell ok. It’s very difficult to get rid of them and usually ends up throwing out absolutely all of your kitchen stock. 

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Would you like to live more sustainably, but you don’t know how to start?  Wasting food is one of the biggest environmental problems. According to statistics, food waste produces 6% of global COemissions and the food industry emits 26% of global CO2 emissions.

In this article, you will find 6 tips on how to reduce food waste in your daily life.

1. Plan your grocery shopping and avoid overbuying

Most of us have a habit of buying more products than we actually need. Let’s change it! Reorganize your grocery shopping and start by creating a list of products that you are using and like the most. Before you go shopping, try to do an inventory of what you already have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. 

Check the «best before» dates when you buy the products and make sure you will use them before they expire

It might be difficult, but try to avoid buying more products than you need. It’s better to go to the grocery store frequently than once a week. Another way to keep track of groceries is by using grocery inventory apps.

Read more about Grocery Shopping Hacks

2.   Keep leftovers

If you cook frequently and have small amounts of leftovers, put them in the glass container. Too much potion for dinner? You can eat it the next day. Did you cook too much rice? You can add it to the next lunch.

More ideas on what to do with leftovers

3.   Keep tops, stalks, peels, and do the Vegetable Broth

 Do you peel vegetables? Then don’t throw the skin. These leftovers have power! Many nutrients and minerals are located just under the skin. From these leftovers, you can prepare amazing Vegetable Broth and then use it as a base for soup

Check the recipe

4.  Choose a smaller plate

Do you know that the size of your plate can change your perspective on how much you eat? 

You can fill up your big plate and don’t even realize you overeating. Change your plate and bowl for a smaller one and check if you still need more food after eating your portion.  

Research proves this step help reducing food waste by 25%.

5.  Say Hello to your freezer

Freezing is the best way of preserving food. 

If you have cooked too much and don’t want to eat the same meal for a week, just freeze it! Divide the meal into portions, put in bags or containers, and leave it in the freezer. 

What else can you save before spoiling by freezing? Fruits, veggies, bread, meat, greens, and herbs

6.  Blend it!

Too many fruits in your pantry?

You can save them from spoiling by making a smoothie! You don’t need any recipe, you can mix whatever you have and whatever you want. 

There are many simple methods on how to save food, those were only a few examples. Remember that small changes to your daily habits can make a big impact not only on our planet but also on your pocket. Try pantry inventory software.

Good luck!

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Globally of all food produced is wasted every year which translates to a cost of €1,1 trillion. Food is lost all throughout the value chain and restaurants are accountable for 33% of food wasted. This has a significant toll on the environment and also on restaurants as businesses. On average, the cost of avoidable food waste at restaurants is €1,10 per meal.

Here are some tips to reduce food waste and make your restaurant more sustainable.

Food Waste Prevention

Track your food waste

The most important step to start focusing on reducing food waste at your restaurant is to identify how much and which food is in fact wasted. Counting and weighing your food waste will give you an idea of how much food waste costs for your business. It is important to count your inventory and how much of it is wasted so you can find out how to solve the issues which lead to throwing away food at your restaurant. 

Identifying the type of food waste

Pre-consumer waste is food wasted which doesn’t leave the kitchen such as vegetable peels which is unavoidable. However, pre-consumer waste also includes rotten ingredients which can be avoided through an improved storage system. 

Post-consumer waste is food wasted after it has reached the consumer. This includes leftovers which are not eaten which is usually caused by over-portioning. Through portion control, you can prevent wasting food and by serving smaller portions, or giving the option of ordering different portion sizes, more ingredients will be available for you to cook more dishes with the ingredients you already have. 

Analyse your menu

Another reason your restaurant could be wasting large amounts of food is your menu. If you notice that certain dishes often come back to the kitchen with a lot of leftover food, it might be worth removing it from the menu.

Try to incorporate the same ingredients in several dishes on your menu so that you reduce the variety of ingredients you have to buy and in order to be able to use leftover ingredients for different dishes.

Store food correctly

In order to reduce pre-consumer waste it is important to make sure you are storing your ingredients correctly and at the right temperatures. About 21% of restaurant food waste is spoiled food. A stock rotation system FIFO – First In, First Out – prevents food going bad. It ensures that the newer stock is placed behind older stock, and older stock is picked first when used. 

Read more about storing food.

Digitise your restaurant inventory management

If you feel like you are spending time and money managing delivery control, inventory, expiration dates, price variations, stock count and reporting and you waste a lot of food, consider digitising your restaurant inventory management system. 

With TotalCtrl restaurant software you can:

  • save time
  • gain control
  • improve efficiency
  • boost profitability
  • enhance your brand image

What to do with your food waste

Although you may already follow all of these tips in order to reduce food waste at your restaurant, some food waste is unavoidable. Here are some of the best ways to deal with your food waste.

Pack up leftovers for customers

Around 34% of restaurant food waste is food left over on the customers’ plates. Offer to pack up leftover food for your customers and make ‘doggy bags’ a routine at your restaurant. Then you will not have to deal with the waste.

Recycle

Work with a responsible food waste management company. This way, the waste will end up being recycled and not end up on a landfill. This is better for the environment as the waste is dealt with organically. 

Donate leftovers

If you have leftover ingredients that may not be edible by the next time you are able to cook with it, consider donating it to local charities so it does not go to waste. 

Invest in a food waste processor

There are many different types of food waste processors. One of them is a food waste tank which is a tank you can place in your restaurant. It deals with food waste in a sustainable way. Food waste tanks grind and decompose food and retain the energy and biogas released in the process of decomposition. 

Benefits: 

  • Fully automatic operation
  • Electronic reporting system 
  • Hygienic – confines odors and contaminants
  • Saves space – eliminates temporary waste storage in kitchens
  • Cost efficient
  • Reduced need for food waste collection service
  • Retains energy and biogas

Waste-to-energy process

Food waste tanks can serve as a waste-to-energy process as the biogas naturally produced during the decomposition of food waste can be used to generate energy. Biogas is an environmentally friendly source of energy production as it reduces the release of dangerous levels of methane and reduces the reliance on fossil fuels for energy. Biogas can be used as an energy source in your restaurant. This can save money and make use of food waste. 

There are many ways to prevent and reduce restaurant food waste and these were just a few. Food is wasted all throughout the value chain with restaurants being responsible for a significant amount of it. Help protect the environment and your business through implementing some of our suggestions.

Read more about food waste. 

Read more about turning food waste into cash.

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Do you find yourself spending a lot of time and money grocery shopping?

Here is a list of 17 grocery shopping hacks to make your life easier.  

#1 – Never Shop on an empty stomach

The best way to avoid overspending is by never going food shopping on an empty stomach. If you eat a full meal before going grocery shopping you can avoid shopping based on cravings and focus on what you actually want to feed your body. This can help you save money and achieve a healthier diet. Stick to your shopping list!

#2 – Find out when your local supermarket clears out shelves for expired products

All supermarkets have a dedicated time each day when they go through all of their shelves to clear out foods that are nearing their expiration date. These are usually placed in the discount aisle. If you find out when your supermarket does its daily rundown of expiring food, you may find the best time to visit the discount aisle when it has the most options. 

#3 – If you don’t know what to cook, visit the discount aisle 

If you are looking for meal inspiration, check out the discount aisle where there will be a range of cheaper food options that could help you come up with a low-cost and creative recipe.

#4 – Avoid the inner aisles at the supermarket

Supermarkets strategically place essential ingredients such as dairy and produce on the perimeters of the store and on opposite ends so you are forced to pass through aisles with products you do not necessarily need. Try not to get distracted and stick to the outside aisles!

Source

#6 – Support your local farmers

Grocery shopping can get boring so visit your local farmers’ markets to switch things up and support your local hard-working farmers. Farmers’ markets have no middlemen which means that when you buy products, all the money goes directly to the farmers. 

Food is also fresher and typically cheaper than at supermarkets. You will find seasonal and local produce, which is typically higher in nutrients and therefore healthier. At the end of the day sellers also reduce their prices in order to avoid having to bring their inventory back home. You may find some great deals!

#7 – Shop seasonally

This one may sound obvious but try to shop fruits and vegetables that are in-season

There are many benefits to shopping seasonally:

  1. Better taste
  2. More nutritious (not processed and preservative-free)
  3. Lower cost
  4. Low carbon footprint

Enjoy strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon in the spring/summer, and pumpkin, oranges and apples in the autumn/winter!

If you want to find out which fruits and vegetables are in season in your region, simply google “Seasonal fruits and vegetable calendar (your location)”. 

#8 – Bring reusable bags

Bringing your own bag for your groceries will save you money, significantly reduce your carbon footprint and send a message to supermarkets and customers around you. Reusable bags are also often bigger than plastic bags from the supermarket. This will save you a second or third trip carrying your groceries from the car to your house. Keep a bag in your car and one by your front door so you always remember to bring one when you go shopping.

#10 – Take pictures of your pantry and fridge

Taking pictures of your pantry and fridge before going food shopping can prevent you from buying something you already have at home. You might think you know everything you have at home but chances are, you will forget about something you bought a long time ago. Try it out and you will save money and avoid wasting food!

#11 – Find alternatives to buying fresh food

If you find yourself throwing away a lot of fresh food, consider buying a mixture of fresh and frozen food. Frozen food is cheaper, offers more variety, lasts longer and is still nutritious. Buying more frozen food can save you money and reduce food waste in your household. 

Read more about food waste. 

#12 – Be careful with buying avocados

There is no worse feeling than buying an expensive and delicious-looking avocado only to come home and realize that it’s brown and spoiled on the inside. 

Here is a guide to show you how to determine the ripeness of an avocado at the supermarket. Hopefully, you’ll never be disappointed by an avocado again. 

Source

#13 – Don’t buy food in bulk

Some foods, like potatoes and carrots, don’t expire. So it’s okay if you buy them in bulk.

However, if you buy 1 KG of chicken and don’t freeze it, things can turn sour fast. To save your fresh food from expiring, just buy less of it at a time or freeze your extra portion as soon as you get home.

#14 – Don’t fall for the 2 for 1 offers

Let’s say you’re buying yoghurt and you notice there’s a 2 for the price of 1 deal. Of course, you’re going to take another yoghurt because it’s free. But if you know you only wanted to buy one, what’s the point in taking an extra one if you may not eat it and end up having to throw it away? Next time you take that extra yoghurt, broccoli or orange, think about if you are actually going to eat it. 

#15 – Give food-sharing a go

At supermarkets, food is often sold in family-sized packets and are not ideal for people living on their own. If you find yourself throwing away a lot of food because there is no option to buy smaller sizes at your supermarket, consider going shopping once a week with a friend or a neighbour. By sharing your groceries, you and your shopping friend can both save money and reduce food waste!

#16 – Use specialist shops

Building on hack #15, at specialist shops you can choose exactly how much meat, cheese, nuts, fruit, vegetables etc… you want. This can also help you save money and reduce food waste. 

#17 – Last hack – don’t go to the supermarket? Eat leftover food you have at home.

Got a bunch of cooked veggies or leftover rice? Throw them together in a pan. 

You can cook awesome meals with your leftover food. Anything from paella with a twist to a leftover-food omelette, to fried rice works.

There’s plenty of room to be creative!

Read more about how students can reduce food waste.

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You might think you know a lot about food but these food facts are guaranteed to blow your mind…

#1 – Hot chocolate can be traced back to as early as 1400 B.C

Source

Archaeologists have found that hot chocolate can be traced back to the Aztech and Mayan cultures. Although you might consider hot chocolate a sweet and cozy winter drink and not necessarily healthy, it has been found that the Aztechs served their chocolate drink cold and prepared with chilli and a variety of spices. It was known for its health benefits such as calming an upset stomach and fighting fatigue. Montezuma ll, the emperor of the Aztecs was very fond of the chocolate drink and allegedly drank around 50 cups a day

Next time you’re enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, you might find yourself thinking about its long history. 

#2 –  It would take you 21 years to try every type of apple if you ate an apple a day

Source

Eating the recommended apple a day can get boring but, with 7,500 different varieties of apples, eating a different type of apple every day can make it a bit more exciting for about 21 years

7,500 different types of apples may seem untrue. Well that is because, only about 2,500 of these varieties exist in western grocery stores. 

#3 –  Over ⅓ of all food produced globally goes to waste

Source

Over one-third of all food produced globally goes to waste annually. This loss occurs all throughout the different stages of the food value chain. Wasted food is deteriorating to the environment and leads to significant economical costs (1 trillion USD annually). 

It is estimated that by 2050, food production will need to increase by 60% to meet the demand of the increasing world population. By making better use of the level of food produced today, it is possible to meet future demands without having to significantly increase production. 

Read more about food waste

You can take part in the fight to reduce food waste by taking control of your food at home. With the TotalCtrl Home app, you can get a clear overview of all your food and their expiry dates which will save you money, time and help stop environmental degradation

App Store

Google Play

#4 –  Salmon can make you happier

Source

Salmon has been proven to increase the release of serotonin in your brain. This is due to being rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid which creates serotonin. On top of this, there are many other health benefits to eating salmon such as lowering blood pressure, balancing cholesterol levels and it’s also a good source of omega-3. 

If you’re feeling sad, cook up a delicious salmon recipe and it should make you feel happier.

#5 –  25% of the world’s freshwater supply is used to grow food that is never eaten

Source

Of the 1% of freshwater that is available for humans, 70% is used to grow food and raise animals and a large part of it is wasted. The 25% of the world’s freshwater supply that is wasted due to food loss could be used by 9 billion people at around 200 litres per person per day. 

Read more about food waste. 

#6 –  5 different vegetables come from the same plant

Source

It is not widely known that brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi all come from the Brassica Oleracea plant.

#7 –  All of the world’s hungry people could be fed by less than a quarter of the food wasted in the US, UK and Europe

Source

In Europe, 100 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year and around 40% of food produced in the US is never eaten. There are an estimated one billion people starving in the world today. The starving population could be fed by less than a quarter of the food waste in the US, UK and Europe. 

#8 –  Bananas are berries and strawberries are not

Source

From a botanical standpoint, strawberries are technically not berries and bananas are. This is due to the structure of the fruits. A berry must have three distinct layers: outer skin, fleshy middle and an inner part which holds the seeds. Other fruits which are also often wrongly labeled as berries are cherries, raspberries and blackberries. 


#9 –  Chocolate was once used as currency

Source

The cocoa bean was once used as currency by the Aztecs. Their belief was that cacao was sent to them by their gods and the good was considered more valuable than gold. Cacao beans were used to buy food and other goods.

#10 –  Carrots were not originally orange

Source

Believe it or not, the original colour of carrots was a pale white. The orange colour present in carrots today is due to a gene mutation. In over 1,000 years of carrot agriculture, farmers selected the mutation that concentrated carotenoids in the carrot root leading to the orange colour. 

Although it is not believed that the aim behind this select mutation was nutritional benefits, it has made carrots more nutritious. Due to this mutation, carrots have become a great source of vitamins that benefit our eyes, immune system and other organs. The truth is that there is no answer as to why farmers decided to grow the mutant orange carrots. 

#11 –  In the US, half of the food produced is thrown away because it is considered “ugly”

Source

One third of all food produced never makes it to grocery store shelves because they are rejected on the journey from farm to store. On top of this, a large amount of food does not make it from grocery stores to homes because they are considered “ugly”.

Carrots for example must pass rigid requirements and sometimes even go through photographic sensor machines which analyse aesthetic defects. If the colour is slightly off, they are bent, have blemishes or are broken, they are either thrown away or moved to livestock feed although they can be consumed by humans. 

Next time you’re at the supermarket, try buying unconventional looking fruits and vegetables. They taste just as good!

#12 –  Cheese is the most stolen food around the world

Source

Roughly 4% of the world’s cheese is stolen. This is due to the fact that cheese can be expensive. It can be priced up to 600 USD per pound. In addition to this, cheese is rare and challenging to produce. 


Food is amazing, so remember to eat it. 

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Matsentralen Oslo is the Oslo branch of Matsentralen, a Norwegian food bank network that aims to fight food waste. Matsentralen Oslo receives food from 50 suppliers. It then distributes this food to more than 120 hunger relief charities in Oslo. In 2017, they redistributed 1270 tonnes of food, which is equal to 2.5 million meals.

A large quantity of food inventory, however, came with challenges in recording inventory accurately and quickly. All their processes were manual and required excessive paperwork. 

We saw this as an opportunity for joint value-creation. TotalCtrl created two applications specifically for Matsentralen Oslo. They served as our pilot customer for our inventory solution for food banks.

For Matsentralen Oslo, this reduced time spent on inventory management. Further, it led to significant food waste savings.

Moving From Pen & Paper to Digital 

Before using TotalCtrl’s solution, Matsentralen Oslo recorded food donations on paper without details. They didn’t specify the exact amount, weight, and brand of food they received.

Charities determined the number of designated products during checkout by weighing each pallet and recording its weight. They disregarded the contents of the pallet.

All transactions were manually recorded in Microsoft Excel by one employee. Thus, inventory management had many inaccuracies across its entire process.

The food waste management system was also faulty. Matsentralen Oslo had to keep many food products in their inventory to satisfy demand. However, most foods have a limited shelf life.

Thus, they had to get rid of their inventory before food expired to avoid food waste. Sometimes, the fluctuating nature of demand did not accommodate this.

The main challenges at Matsentralen Oslo can be boiled down to:

  1. Inaccuracies in recording inventory
  2. Manual distribution and record-keeping processes 
  3. Wasted time
  4. Unpredictable supply and demand 

By collaborating with TotalCtrl, Matsentralen Oslo was able to digitize its inventory management system, saving time and money.

TotalCtrl’s Food Bank Solution For Matsentralen Oslo

To address inventory management challenges across the entire supply chain, we created two digital applications, one for Matsentralen Oslo and one for the charities.

The Matsentralen app helped add products to inventory through scanning or manually. This gave Matsentralen an accurate and holistic view of their inventory. Matsentralen also had access to a web dashboard, where they could edit information on charities and suppliers and download data in the form of a spreadsheet.

The charity app allowed charities to view Matsentralen’s full inventory before visiting the warehouse. Charity employees and volunteers added items placed in inventory by Matsentralen Oslo into the charity’s own shopping cart when they picked them up. Thus, the products were automatically deducted from Matsentralen’s inventory, thus digitizing the entire process. 

Matsentralen Oslo Saved Time and Money

Digitizing their entire inventory benefited Matsentralen in several ways. Thanks to TotalCtrl, they could:

  • Record their inventory with precision
  • Save €1,781 (NOK 17,700) each year in manual time
  • Allow charities to browse their inventory and select products digitally
  • Identify trends of supply and demand based on collected data
  • Insert expiration dates for the products in inventory
  • Save 1,428 tonnes of food, which is equivalent to 2,856,000 more meals, and 4,284 tonnes of CO2 each year
  • Save €1,317 (NOK 13,100) in paper expenditure each year.

The solution had an initial set up fee of €3999 and a monthly fee of €39. Thus, the investment pays for itself in less than a two-year time.

TotalCtrl Can Help Make Food Banks Waste-Free 

“As a result of the high number of products and a great deal of manual handling of the inventory, we contacted TotalCtrl for assistance with the automation of processes.”

Cristiano Aubert. CEO, Matsentralen Oslo

The food banks’ solution can easily be implemented in other Matsentralens in Norway. The challenges food banks face are similar and the TotalCtrl solution can help digitize their inventories. By moving from manual handling of goods to digital control and automation, all food banks can save time, money, and help with the fight against food waste.

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Imagine going to the grocery store, buying three shopping bags with food, then dropping one of them on the way, and not going back for it.

Crazy, right?

Well, that’s exactly how much food we are wasting daily. 

Food waste costs the world about 750 billion USD per year. And young people (age 18-34) waste more food than any other demographic

Food waste not only hurts your pockets but is extremely harmful to the environment. But there are measures you can take to minimize it.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why Do Students Waste Food?
  • 17+ Tips To Reduce Food Waste as a Student

Why Do Students Waste Food?

Throwing away food costs your students pockets around 6.9 USD per week. That’s 358 USD per year!

The most commonly wasted foods for students are leftover meals, fresh vegetables and fruit, bread, and chips.

And some of the main reasons students throw food away are:

  • Trying something new and you don’t like it
  • Cooking portions that are too big
  • Throwing away leftovers
  • Food expires before you get to cook it

That’s normal. You’re probably used to home-cooked meals and your family taking care of all of the leftovers. Now that you’ve moved out on your own, you sometimes don’t have access to a kitchen and have a limited budget.

You might not even know how to cook or when to eat. In the next section, we’ll offer some tips to help.

17+ Tips to Reduce Student Food Waste

You might feel lost, but you can quickly get control of your food. You just need a bit more knowledge on how to store food effectively, how to use leftovers, and how to control your food choices and reduce your student food waste.

#1 – Store and organize your food 

Putting food in a place that isn’t visible makes you forget you even have it. So make sure everything in your fridge or pantry is organized and visible.

When you get new groceries, bring all the old things in front and put all the newly purchased items in the back. 

This way, you’ll be more likely to eat food that expires sooner.

#2 – Seal food properly 

Did you open a pack of chicken breasts and only used one or two?

Usually, the rest of the chicken starts smelling pretty fast.

This is why sealing your food is super important. Wrap unused chicken, fish, or steak and secure it with food clips. Alternatively, you can put it in containers or Tupperware.

#3 – Prepare portion sizes correctly

Before you start cooking, get a feeling of how many people will be eating. You’ll be tempted to make excess food. 

Don’t!

If you’re overcooking, you increase the likelihood that you’ll waste your food. You might then be tempted to throw the excess food away or dispose of the next-day leftovers.

#4 – Switch up breakfast

You can substitute your bowl of cereal or eggs with some of the leftovers from the previous day. Or, you can put it in a Tupperware and take it with you for lunch.

You do not end up throwing your leftovers. You also save cooking time, lunch money, and some of your breakfast food.

#5 – Cook with leftovers

Got a bunch of cooked veggies or leftover rice? Throw them together in a pan. 

You can cook awesome meals with your leftover food. Anything from paella with a twist to a leftover-food omelet, to fried rice works.

There’s plenty of room to be creative!

#6 – Freeze bread

You got a huge loaf of fresh bread that you can’t eat before it goes bad?

Just throw it in the freezer!

Then take it out and throw it in the oven or let it defrost when you decide to have it. After reheating, the bread tastes as fresh as the first day. 

#7 – Buy more frozen foods

It’s nice to support local farmers and to eat fresh foods. But if you end up throwing away most of your vegetables or fruits because you didn’t get to eat that in time….then it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Frozen food is cheaper and offers more variety. You can get several bean types and various vegetables in one pack. And they take years to go bad!

#8 – Don’t buy food in bulk

Some foods, like potatoes and carrots, don’t expire. So it’s okay if you buy them in bulk.

However, if you buy 1 KG of chicken and don’t freeze it, things can turn sour fast. To save your fresh food from expiring, just buy less of it at a time.

#9 – Check your fridge temperature

Your fridge temperature should be below 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit). And your freezer should not exceed -18 degrees Celcius (0 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Get a simple fridge thermometer to monitor these thresholds. 

The shelves in the fridge also vary in their temperatures. Store different types of food on separate shelves to make sure they don’t expire.

fridge placement shelves

#10 – Understand expiration dates

There are many ways the store, the factory, or the distribution facility put in the expiration date in the food packaging. However, there are three main wordings:

  • “Best before” means that the food won’t be harmful if you consume it after the shown date. But it’s best to consume it before the expiration date for the best taste and quality. Be careful with eggs, because they can develop salmonella if a long time passes.
  • “Exp.” means that the food will expire after the given date. However, sometimes, food might be okay to cook with even if expired. Go for the “look, smell, taste” test. Only throw away food if it looks and smells expired.
  • “Display until” or “Disp” is an indicator for grocery store clerks. Don’t pay much attention to it.

Understanding what these expiration dates mean can help you prioritize when you eat food. So, if at some point your choice is between food that expires tomorrow and food that is best before tomorrow, go for the first one.

#11 – Take home restaurant leftovers

There’s nothing wrong with asking your waiter to pack up your leftovers in a container and take it home. The food is yours once it’s prepared!

The restaurant avoids food waste and you get an extra meal or side dish from food that you’ve already paid for.

#12 – Donate food you don’t want anymore

You might have a bunch of cans and other foods sitting around the house. They haven’t expired yet. And you’re probably tempted to throw them away since you don’t plan on eating them anytime soon.

Considering donating them instead. There should be food banks in your area or local organizations that give the food to the less fortunate. Food isn’t wasted but instead given to someone who needs it. There are 135 million of these people throughout the world.

#13 – Plan your meals

At the beginning of the week, create a diary with all the meals you plan to eat that week. Write down a shopping list for all those meals and only buy those ingredients.

Meal planning makes it easier for you to know what and how you’re eating and eliminates stress and time spent on thinking and cooking. It also ensures that you’re not buying food that you won’t use.

#14 – Eat less meat

Meat is extremely harmful to the environment. Each kilogram of beef, for example, produces 17 kg of CO2. Eating more plant-based foods is a sure way to reduce your carbon footprint.

#15 – Find recipes online

There are thousands of online recipe websites out there that you can use for inspiration. And some are easy and fast to make. 

Online recipes also show all ingredients, which adds variety to your meal and gives you inspiration for your shopping list.

#16 – Use food waste applications

There are mobile apps out there that make planning and cooking meals super easy. Total Ctrl Home is probably the most convenient.

The app allows you to get alerts before food expires and create shopping lists. It also gives you recipe recommendations based on the food you have at hand.

#17 – Spread the word

Inform your friends and family about all the negative effects of food waste. Share posts and updates on your social media, so that everyone can participate.

The more people know about how unnecessary and avoidable food waste is, the closer we are to our sustainable development goal of halving the world’s food waste.

Wrapping Up Student Food Waste

We discussed many tips on this article about how to reduce student food waste. However, you don’t have to dive into all of them at once.

Start with small changes, like eating leftovers, downloading TotalCtrl Home, and organizing your fridge. Then work your way through meal planning and educating others about the threat of wasted food.

By working together to change our habits, we can all make an impact towards a waste-free world.

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