As part of its "Stop Food Waste Day," Atlanta-based Morrison Healthcare is working to increase the number of food recovery and donation programs to serve the hungry in its communities. Morrison Healthcare is one of the nation's largest food service providers, serving approximately one million meals daily in more than 650 hospitals.
Morrison is part of Compass Group USA, which created Stop Food Waste Day. Compass has pledged to reduce food waste by 25 percent by the year 2020, primarily by reducing food waste in its daily operations. Forty percent of food in the U.S. is thrown away, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste, according to a 2012 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
An important component of the Stop Food Waste program is developing responsible food recovery and donating programs. Morrison plans to expand food donation programs similar to one developed with Mission Health System and the Asheville Poverty Initiative in Asheville, N.C. Watch this video.
"Morrison team members are embracing the opportunity to minimize food waste and creating food recovery programs that are strengthening hospital and community partnerships," said Morrison Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Tim Pierce.
Since October 2015, Morrison has provided nearly 50 pounds of fresh, nutritious food each week to the Ashville program, which serves free meals at its 12 Baskets Café. Morrison's donations help serve 1,600 meals each month to feed Asheville residents seeking healthy, nutritious food.
At the same time, Morrison has reduced its food costs at Mission Health System by two percent. Executive chef Mark Albano has been able to cut costs and still have enough food left for donations through more efficient menu planning and inventory management.
"We want to stop food waste at its source," said Amy Keister, vice president of consumer engagement at Compass Group, who oversees sustainability. "However, when that's not possible, we partner with food recovery organizations and provide delicious, nutritious food to the community."
The success of the Asheville program and legal protection provided by Good Samaritan laws to those that provide assistance to people in need are catalysts to expand the food recovery program to other hospitals where Morrison is the food service provider. In addition, Compass has entered into a partnership with Eatable, which offers resources to establish food recovery programs. Keister says that Compass operates approximately 25 food recovery programs nationwide in conjunction with hospitals and other clients.