Food waste in hospitals

In the Netherlands, a lot of people are staying in hospitals and health care institutions. They all need to be fed, which means 350 thousand meals have to be prepared every day! Around 40% of this huge amount of food ends up in waste containers. It’s literally a waste of food, work and money. Reducing this wastage creates new opportunities. For instance, you could provide patients with better quality meals. This provides more satisfaction, because patients eat better and with more relish. But how do you reduce food waste? You start by taking measurements. Wageningen UR is researching food waste in hospitals, and for that we look at various factors. For instance, which kind of food is discarded the most? For warm meals it’s mostly vegetables that end up in the litterbin. And which day sees the most food wastage? It’s mostly on Thursdays and Fridays that meals comes back uneaten. Which meal is thrown away most often? Of the three meals that patients receive on a day, it’s mostly food from the warm meal that ends up in the litterbin. It’s also important to know at which stage of the process most of the food is wasted. Is it while the food is being prepared? Is there still food left after portioning? Does a patient eat less than expected? Or are there less patients than meals? Measurements show that it’s mostly due to food that is left after portioning. This causes almost half of all food wastage. Finally, the time at which a meal is being ordered, also influences the amount of food waste. The shorter the time period between ordering the food and eating it, the less food is wasted. Of course, these results are averages and differ from hospital to hospital. Wageningen UR has the tools to show you where most food is wasted in your hospital. This will help you make direct adjustments that reduce food wastage. Wageningen UR can do a lot for hospitals when it comes to reducing food wastage.

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