At Fresh Ideas, we understand the importance of protecting the environment and working towards a sustainable future. As a food service management company, it is our responsibility to work with clients and guests to reduce food waste. Through our dining programs, we aim to minimize waste in our kitchens and encourage guests to be mindful of their own food waste.
One of our most popular sustainability initiatives is our Green & Go reusable container program. Green & Go is designed to meet the often-busy schedules of college students and provide them with convenient meals while reducing food waste. Students receive a Green & Go reusable container, fill up the containers with food from the dining hall, and once finished, students return the containers to be cleaned and sanitized. Upon returning containers, students may receive a clean container or a virtual token to redeem for a reusable container in the future. The Green & Go program replaces non-recyclable to-go food containers and reduces landfill and campus waste. These containers can also be used in retail outlets to further reduce waste.
Many students prefer using Green & Go containers because it allows them to enjoy meals at their own pace. For example, student-athletes often fill their reusable containers with plenty of protein and vegetables to enjoy after practices and events. At Fresh Ideas, we pride ourselves on implementing dining and technology solutions that are convenient and practical for our guests.
The Green & Go container program also helps reduce food waste through reduced portion sizes. At Midland University, Chef Shawn and Gren, Director of Dining Services, meet with students during meals and answer questions they may have. For some students, this may be their first time eating on their own, and they may not know how to build a balanced plate. Our dining teams educate guests and provide support in building right-sized and nutritious meals. Our teams also work in partnership with the schools to reduce waste. Chef Shawn and Gren also work with the Eco Warriors Club to remove all Styrofoam from their dining facilities.
Additionally, Fresh Ideas promotes our Be Green, Be Healthy, Be Bold educational dining program to bring awareness to sustainability practices and healthy eating. This program consists of rotating educational materials displayed throughout our dining programs. The educational materials include food waste facts, tips for building healthy eating habits, benefits of exercise, and ways to improve mental and physical health. The Be Green, Be Healthy, Be Bold program provides tips for building balanced plates to keep students fueled and focused, which also often leads to reduced portions and less food waste because they are choosing foods that keep them more satisfied.
Fresh Ideas plays a large role in reducing food waste within our dining facilities, which is why we take extra measures to provide sustainable dining programs and educate our dining teams. We’re celebrating Earth Day this year with an emphasis on utilizing technology and education to power an even greater reduction in food waste throughout our dining facilities in 2023 and beyond.