An audit of food waste in retirement villages and aged care facilities across the Mid North Coast has found that Stockland Parklands Retirement Village is leading the way - reducing costs, improving efficiencies and minimising food waste at the Port Macquarie village.
The review, part of the Your Business Is Food program being rolled out by MidWaste, found that Parklands Retirement Village has implemented a number of food waste reduction initiatives, such as having residents pre-order their meals, offering portion size options and checking stock levels prior to purchasing food.
Village manager Jeff McHugh at Stockland Parklands Retirement Village, said that the on-site kitchen caters for 30 residents in serviced apartments, and has a strong connection with the village café to make the most of excess food.
"Rather than seeing surplus from the kitchen go to waste, we sell complete meals through the café or make use of leftover ingredients, such as turning roast vegetables into a veggie frittata," Mr McHugh said.
"This not only reduces costs, prevents waste and increases efficiencies, but it also means our 165 residents can access great quality, home-style meals within the village instead of relying on an outside meal service."
MidWaste coordinator Ali Bigg, said it's not just food and money being wasted, but also the time and effort of staff, and the resources that went into growing, producing, selling and transporting the food.
"We know it's important for retirement villages and aged care facilities to provide residents with the right amount of healthy, nutritious food, while running an efficient and cost-effective kitchen," Ms Bigg said.
Midwaste was awarded $250,000 to deliver the Love Food Communities Project, with the goal of tackling food waste across the whole community over two years. It includes delivering a Your Business Is Food education program to businesses, tailored to different sectors.
The program includes a step-by-step guide to measure food waste and an easy action plan to save on costs. Participants also receive one-on-one support from a food waste avoidance advisor.
The tailored program addresses the unique challenges faced by retirement villages and aged care providers, ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents remains the key priority.
Mr McHugh said that sustainability is a key consideration for Stockland, as well as its staff and residents, with the village offering green waste bins for residents to use, and using peelings and scraps from the kitchen as compost on the village gardens.
"We're very conscious of our impact on the environment, and encourage others to take up this free program to improve their systems, cut costs and reduce food waste."
Retirement Villages and Aged Care providers on the Mid North Coast of NSW can find out more and sign up for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.