I knew I was forgetting something recently and I finally figured out that sustainablefoodservice.com officially turned 4 last Friday. I say officially because March 15, 2009 was when I announced the launch of the site, but it had really been around since late 2006. While the concept for the site and a lot of my research dates back to 2002, the site came to life in an incredible studio apartment my wife and I had in San Francisco – that was my view of the Golden Gate Bridge and inspiration while I hacked out some code for this site.
Unfortunately, the view was short lived, as she was working a traveling job and after a few months the job was finished as was the apartment her company housed us in. The view for the following few months was a rock backyard in Mesa, AZ – not nearly as picturesque.
I spent the next couple years building the site out as I could between jobs and consulting gigs, as I do now, though the work is constant now and the sites gets less attention.
It’s been a really treat to maintain the site and hear from people all over the world that are building restaurants, developing mixed use developments, creating food waste programs for their cities, universities, high school, middle school, elementary school, every kind of school… I’ve chatted with people making their own chocolates, running kitchens for summer camps, remodeling restaurants, buying restaurants, wanting to compost, looking for sustainable packaging, and selling sustainable packaging – anyone want to import biodegradable packaging from China? I know of about a hundred options. It’s been a great run so far.
Thanks to everyone that emailed, called, posted or provided support over the years. Here’s to another four plus-ish years!
Since the NRA and everyone else is currently listing their predictions and “What’s Hot” for 2013, I thought I would through a few out there. Just three in fact – you’re just leveraging your odds when you list ten. So here it goes.
1. Food Waste – Nothing new here. In fact, 2012 seemed to be the year of food waste. Everyone from the New York Times to Foodservice Equipment Supplies Magazine was writing about food waste. It’s a huge issue globally and people are starting to realize the effect it has on their pocket book and the environment. This is going to stay a strong issue for a while, and likely just get more focused and complex as the industry becomes more interested and better educated.
2. Water – There are always stories in the media about water and water shortage, but I think it is going to become a big topic this year, and not just in the foodservice industry but everywhere. For the foodservice industry it is going to be a broad issue. Rising food prices because of drought are effecting menu pricing and profit margins, aging sewer systems will start driving utility costs up, and a large push for innovative, water efficient equipment will all drive the focus on water efficiency.
3. GMOs – This isn’t a new issue, there has been a big push from the food production industry to get GMOs into the marketplace where they already are not, but became a big issue late last year as the FDA approved GM salmon for human consumption. This is going to be a tipping point for many. The potential for GM salmon to taint the wild salmon populations is going to garner opposition from a huge and diverse of collection of groups that normally have nothing to do with each other. Celebrity chefs will be climbing over the top of each other to shout their opposition to GM fish with support from commercial fishing organization, conservative hunting and fish groups, virtually everyone in Alaska, environmentalists, Native organizations, health advocates, politicians, and scientists from all over the world as this fish has the potential to effect native fish populations globally.
I just updated the water efficiency page that has a table of the pre-rinse spray valves tested by the Food Service Technology Center. There are several new sprayers on the market with water use below 1 gallon per minute including an option from Encore with use as low as .59 gpm. It did decent in the cleanability test as well.
If you’ve tried any of these new units out, let us know about your experience.
Our friends at LeanPath just published a new infographic on the problem of food waste. Check it out on their new site foodwastestats.com
I’m often making recommendations to restaurant owners that they install high-efficiency (low-flow) pre-rinse spray valves at their dish sink. I’ve seen various types and have had many sites install the units, but with mixed reactions. Some people say they love them, others say they don’t see a difference from their previous unit, and a few other wind up telling that they had to put their old one back in because the low-flow didn’t work. Typically they say it took too long to rinse off dishes, which seems odd to me because the Food Service Technology Center has done extensive research on pre-rinse spray valves that proved otherwise. Not that they operators where wrong, but maybe they just have bad water pressure.
So, with all the back and forth I’ve seen with the sprayers I’m curious what others have experienced. Have you installed a 1.0 gpm or under sprayer? What kind did you buy? How did you like it? Did the dishwashers complain, praise it or not even notice? Did you see a difference on your water or natural gas bill?
Let me know in the comments or via the contact page and I’ll compile the results into a user review post.