Battling Food Waste with Data Insights

More than 22 million pounds of uneaten food is thrown away on college campuses every year, according to Food Recovery Network. That means that the average college student wastes an average 142 pounds of food per year!

Food waste doesn’t only hurt dining locations on campus, it also affects your college’s financial health. Food waste immediately hits your bottom line because it’s product that isn’t sold; it’s prepared and then thrown away (or, more ideally, donated). The more you can do to reduce food waste, the more opportunities you have to increase your revenues.

Let’s take a look at the best way to reduce food waste.

Improving Your Bottom Line

Nearly every aspect of higher education ties back to student satisfaction, which in turn relates directly to improved revenues. Consider this: if food waste is controlled, you could offer meals at a cheaper price, which means a better impact on your students in the cost of the meal. Like a positive feedback loop, when students spend less money on food, they are much more satisfied.

So how do dining facilities reduce food waste? You can start by tracking this information (and by having a mechanism with which to automatically track it). Tracking helps you identify which types of food are being wasted; then, you could eliminate serving that type of food or potentially reduce the amount time being spent in food preparation.

Another option is for schools to work with a non-profit organization to donate their leftover food. In fact, for-profit higher education institutions can get tax benefits for donating food. On the student side, empowering your population to get involved in recycling and other initiatives can help foster a culture of being less wasteful.

Final Thoughts

After implementing RevenueVision, our auxiliary services-specific operational and financial management platform, one of our partners found that they had $451,000 in food waste per year, which amounted to 1.5% of their yearly budget. By taking a hard look at their food waste and related costs, they were able to modify their product offerings in order to reduce waste, reduce costs, and improve student satisfaction.