Ask a chef to name the most important ingredient in the kitchen and chances are salt ranks at No. 1. Simply put, salt amplifies and unites flavors.
Because salt is also a key ingredient in food preservation, it’s only natural that Morton Salt is focusing on an initiative to combat food waste.
The company recently inked a three-year partnership with the James Beard Foundation (JBF) to provide free access to its new food waste curriculum designed for culinary school instructors. The online curriculum, “Creating a Full-Use Kitchen,” provides technical and creative approaches to food waste solutions and examines the need to reduce food waste along the supply chain.
“Salt is known for its ability to transform and elevate the flavors in food,” says Denise Lauer, chief marketing officer for Morton Salt, one of the largest salt companies in North America. “We hope to transform and elevate the conversation around food waste and create meaningful solutions together with consumers, communities, business and industry.” Morton Salt launched its initiative in late 2017 as an action campaign aimed at millennial consumers titled, “Erase Food Waste.”
The initiative includes a website on food waste, food waste innovation, recipes for ingredients that would otherwise get tossed and an ad campaign using actual food scraps to create a new font. Now, Morton Salt is exploring educational solutions with JBF for the $799 billion restaurant industry.
Restaurants and institutional foodservice are responsible for 29 to 44 billion pounds of waste a year, according to a 2017 Natural Resources Defense Council report. Reducing the amount means savings for consumers, a better bottom line for foodservice, and an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Morton Salt sees its role as creating greater awareness and facilitating change through partnerships and efforts that work in tandem with restaurants and diners. Reducing food waste in restaurants has been a priority for many restaurateurs but with only 2 percent of restaurants donating leftover food, the potential for a greater impact is huge.
Chef Matt Jozwiak, who has cooked for some of New York City’s most renowned restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park, launched Rethink Food NYC last year to remove obstacles for restaurants that want to donate food but lack the structure or worry about liability.
Jozwiak indemnifies restaurants from liability and picks up ingredients after service when they know what can be donated. The ingredients are repurposed to make meals for hunger organizations.
As simple as it sounds, it’s worth noting that stopping food waste starts with planful ordering. For example, software that tracks purchasing history, inventory and past sales can help with more precise ordering, which would result in less waste, according to US Foods, one of Morton Salt’s new partners in food waste solutions.
SECOND LIFE FOODS
Repurposed ingredients help the bottom line. Some ideas from Food Fanatics chefs:
Lemons – Use lemon zest as an ingredient before juicing or preserve lemons after juicing by adding salt and using rinds as an accent.
Hard Cheese Rinds – Add to soup or stocks for another level of flavor.
Leafy Tops – Turn carrot tops into a salsa verde or sauté beet greens as part of a plant-based dish.
Ugly Vegetables – Cut away spoiled parts; add to stocks.
Roast Chicken – Use leftover birds for next-day salads or chicken-based dishes, and the carcass for stock.
A MODEL FOR REDUCING WASTE
- Prevent – Reduce food waste through smarter ordering practices, better menu planning and more ingredient repurposing.
- Recover – Donate surplus food to hunger relief organizations.
- Recycle – Redirect food waste from landfills to composting, animal feed or anaerobic digestion.