Every year, $165 billion of food is wasted in the United States while, at the same time, many families go hungry. Two event-industry experts, Courtney Lohmann, CMP, senior director of corporate and social responsibility for PRA Business Events, and Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, president of sustainability for Meeting Change, understand the many ways to minimize food waste, focusing on two strategies: reducing the amount of food that is unused at an event and repurposing most of that unused food in a planet-friendly way.
First, Lohmann advises planners to focus on three areas of the food-waste continuum: Reduce supply-chain food waste, repurpose or donate food leftovers, and compost food waste.
To begin setting up your food-rescue plan, Lohmann suggests talking to all the stakeholders in the process, from your vendors to your attendees. She says it is important to communicate with everyone so that your attendees understand your goals and suppliers will not be concerned that limited menu choices or fewer preset meals could reflect poorly on them.