Tired of seeing good food go to waste? 


Food System Hackers: Introducing A Revolutionary New Way to 
Rescue Food and Feed Hungry People.

The Critical Difference You Need to Know: Service Level vs. Production Level Food Waste Strategies
The Critical Difference You Need to Know: Service Level vs. Production Level Food Waste Strategies


A lack of public awareness of powerful production-level tools, including blast chillers and freeze dryers that can slow or stop the decay cycle of foods, or using end of life foods as ingredients to create meals and new shelf stable and products that can be used to feed the community, is a huge mistake for frustrated food waste rescue advocates who want to reduce food waste. This means that huge amounts of perfectly good food go to waste just because food rescue organizations don't know how to handle it.

This mistake is made because frustrated food waste rescue advocates often focus on service-level solutions - such as food redistribution programs - which do not provide the same level of impact as production-level tools. These production-level tools take advantage of the longer shelf-life and increased nutritional value of food that can be achieved using chillers, freeze dryers, fermentation, and other methods. Production-level solutions also make it possible to create new products from excess food that have higher commercial value, making them more attractive to potential buyers and donors.

The three main reasons why frustrated food waste rescue advocates make this mistake are: 1) They lack awareness of the potential of production-level solutions; 2) They lack access to the necessary equipment and expertise; and 3) They don't have enough resources to invest in the necessary training and equipment.

This mistake is often made when food rescue organizations are in a rush to implement solutions to reduce food waste. They tend to focus on the most obvious solutions - such as redistribution programs - without considering the potential of production-level tools.

Instead of making this mistake, frustrated food waste rescue advocates should take the time to research and understand the potential of production-level tools. They should also invest in the necessary training, equipment, and expertise to make use of these powerful tools. By doing this, they can dramatically reduce food waste and create new products with higher commercial value. This can help them provide more meals to those in need and generate additional income for their organization.

The consequences of making this mistake are severe. You could be facing a huge financial burden, as well as a huge waste of resources, focusing exclusively on packaged products and retail foods while ignoring other available sources. By not utilizing tools like blast chillers and freeze dryers to slow or stop the decay cycle of food, you are essentially throwing away perfectly good food that could otherwise be used to feed the community.
This means that more money is being spent on food that is ultimately wasted, and more resources are being used to create meals and new products that are never used. In addition to the financial burden, public awareness of these powerful production-level tools is essential to ensure that food is not being unnecessarily wasted.
Without this knowledge, the amount of food waste will only continue to increase as population growth continues to accelerate, leading to an even greater financial burden and potentially irreversible catastrophic damage to our global ecosystem. Therefore, the consequences of this mistake are much worse than you think.

Typical Solutions That Don't Work

Most people try to solve the problem of reducing food waste by donating easily transportable excess food - such as packaged food in retail stores intended for home use - to a food bank, soup kitchen, or other charity. While this is a noble effort and can help those in need, it is not an effective solution to the larger problem of reducing food waste.
This is because unsold food like dairy and produce that is donated is usually not suitable for long-term storage, meaning that it will rapidly spoil and still must be thrown away. Shelf stable foods that do last longer are often unhealthy and contribute to poor health, especially in Food Deserts that lack healthy food sources.
Due to the arbitrary nature of brand-identified expiration dates, which in the US and many other nations often have nothing to do with whether the food is good, means that perfectly good branded products are frequently discarded thanks to an overabundance of caution.
Additionally, there may be local or federal legal or logistical issues with food donations that make it difficult for organizations to accept them. As such, donating excess food is not a viable long-term solution for reducing food waste.

#1 Way to Avoid This Mistake

The #1 way frustrated food waste rescue advocates can avoid this mistake is to invest in blast chillers, freeze dryers, and other large scale food production tools as components of commercial kitchens to safely and effectively handle challenging food sources. These technologies can slow or even stop the decay cycle of foods, or even use end of life foods as ingredients to create meals and new shelf stable products that can be used to feed the community. Here’s why this is the absolute best option for reducing food waste.

• Blast chillers can reduce the temperature of prepared “hot hold” meals rapidly and efficiently for transport and storage, preserving them for much longer than traditional methods.
• Industrial scale freeze dryers remove all moisture from foods without using heat, which can make vulnerable food shelf stable and, when properly stored, last for as much as 25 YEARS with little to no loss of nutrition – unlike dehydration, which essentially cooks food slowly to remove moisture.
• Large scale commercial cooking equipment – such as jacketed steam kettles with internal paddles and agitation processes to ensure even heat distribution – provide consistent and precise cooking in an automated manner of massive amounts of food such as sauces, stews and more, providing scalable processing power while reducing cooking steps and labor.

This means that food rescue organizations can save more food from going to waste and, in collaboration with their community donors, can also ensure that the food they distribute is safe to eat.

Secondly, they are cost-effective. Investing in these technologies can save food rescue organizations money in the long run, as they are able to save more food from going to waste with less labor. This also means that the food they can distribute is of a higher quality, meaning that more people will be reached with this food.

Third, rescuing meals and creating foods that reduce meal preparation effort at home empowers seniors and people who struggle with disabilities – like me – with tools to cook at home more easily. It also allows for customization of ingredients which can greatly assist those with allergies and other food restrictions to choose healthy food options.

Finally, they are easy to use. Most blast chillers and freeze dryers are designed to be used with little training and complexity, meaning that food rescue organizations don't need to hire specialized staff to use them. This makes them perfect for busy organizations that don't have the resources to train and manage more people and can often mean adding the equipment to the donation side as a step in the food producer’s end of shift protocols

One example of production equipment being used for food rescue is ThreeSquare, Southern Nevada’s Food Bank which serves over 160 client pantries and innumerable other nonprofit partners. In 2017 ThreeSquare partnered with the MGM Grand Resorts, which controls many casinos on the Las Vegas strip, to rescue hot food from their conventions and buffets using blast chillers to safely freeze large hotel pans of food to redistribute throughout the community. ThreeSquare’s Hot Food Rescue Program has now partnered with over a dozen donor locations around Las Vegas and is rescuing hundreds of thousands of pounds of fully cooked and ready to eat food every year to distribute throughout the community.

By investing in blast chillers and freeze dryers as part of a smart commercial kitchen strategy, food rescue organizations can ensure that huge amounts of perfectly good food does not go to waste. This is the absolute best option for reducing food waste, as it is incredibly precise, cost-effective, and easy to use.

How To Fix the Mistake If You've Already Made It

Have you already made the mistake of developing a food rescue program that cannot handle prepared meals and other vulnerable food? Don't despair! There are still plenty of ways that food waste rescue advocates can fix this.

The first step is to increase public awareness of the tools available. Blast chillers and freeze dryers can slow or stop the decay cycle of foods, or even use end of life foods as ingredients to create meals and new shelf stable products. Educating the public on how to use these tools can help to reduce food waste and greatly increase support for expanding capabilities.

The second step is to partner with local organizations that produce food waste in large volume, such as restaurants, schools, and hospitals, to create a food rescue program and install the needed equipment into their production processes. By developing relationships and providing training on how to use the tools to these organizations, food waste rescue advocates can ensure that food isn’t wasted.

The third step is to create a network of food rescue advocates to support program expansion and volunteer to transport and process the donated food. This can be done by connecting with other organizations and individuals who are interested in reducing food waste and sharing resources and best practices.

Finally, food waste rescue advocates should also investigate creating grassroots food waste reduction programs in local churches, senior centers, and other communities to identify and integrate new food donation sources and further engage the public. This can include organizing educational events, creating campaigns to raise awareness, and developing partnerships with local organizations.

In the real world, these strategies have been put into action. For instance, in New York City, the Food Bank for New York City has implemented a program to provide free meals to the community using food that would otherwise go to waste. In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has partnered with area restaurants to rescue food that would otherwise be thrown away. In Chicago, the Greater Chicago Food Depository has created a program to provide food rescue training to restaurants, hospitals, and other organizations. And in San Francisco, the San Francisco Food Bank has created a network of food rescue organizations to share resources and best practices.

By following these steps, frustrated food waste rescue advocates can help to reduce food waste, even if they have already made the mistake of not utilizing powerful production-level tools.

Tools To Get the Job Done

There are plenty of tools available to help frustrated food waste rescue advocates prevent making the same mistake in the future. One of the most powerful production-level tools are blast chillers and freeze dryers. These can slow or stop the decay cycle of foods, allowing them to be used as ingredients to create meals and new shelf stable products that can be used to feed the community.
Additionally, food-sharing apps are becoming a popular tool for connecting food donors with food rescue organizations, allowing for more efficient and direct donations.
Another powerful tool is composting and anaerobic digestion systems, which allow food waste to be transformed into energy, water, and soil-enriching nutrients. Aligning with existing composting programs or developing one in alignment with commercial kitchen operations can provide a terrific opportunity to rescue even cold prepared foods such as salads that cannot be safely redistributed.
Finally, collaborating with universities and researchers to track changes in co2 emissions from landfills as well as changes to community health from improved food access can greatly help to improve our understanding of program impact over time, leading to further advances in food waste rescue capabilities.
Exploring these tools can help food rescue organizations become more efficient and ensure that no food goes to waste. Additionally, they can help organizations become more cost-effective in their efforts to reduce food waste.

#1 Piece of Advice

My biggest piece of advice is to get started. Many food rescue advocates assume that they cannot make a difference because they do not have access to the resources to build a commercial kitchen with hundreds of thousands of dollars in production grade equipment, purchase large refrigerated trucks, and hire a ton of staff to run the program. The truth is that you don’t have to be a food bank or major corporation, or even have your own commercial kitchen.
Blast chillers are relatively inexpensive, typically going for $10k and up for ones that are big enough to handle commercial food pans. You can fundraise for the equipment and seek out commercial kitchens in churches and other community groups like Lion’s Clubs, Rotary, senior centers and more that are not used all the time to install them into, or you can install them directly into large capacity donor’s kitchens or ask them to invest in the equipment to support the effort.
Hot food can be rescued from locations and brought to the kitchen using plug-in or battery powered insulated hot-hold containers that maintain safe temperature for the food during transport, and these can also help to stage food during freeze cycles if more is donated than can fit into the blast chiller.
Once food is brought down to safe temperatures it can be transferred into a regular freezer. Because food takes longer to cool the more there is it cannot be safely transitioned from service temperature to under 70 degrees within a safe time frame in a regular freezer, which is the main reason prepared food is not often rescued and is typically restricted to same-day redistribution. Blast chillers change this equation and make large scale food rescue possible by reducing even large volumes of food from hot to frozen in as little as 90 minutes.
Food in large hotel pans can also be cooled to refrigerated temperatures, removed, and reportioned into meals, then reintroduced to the blast chiller to freeze the rest of the way. If a food producer donates a large pan of chicken, another of green beans and a third of mashed potatoes as an example, volunteers - or staff -can transfer the food into recyclable pans to share directly with families instead of having to freeze the food in the hotel pans.
As the community becomes aware of the impact of your grassroots program you will be able to advocate for equipment and a commercial kitchen to expand your program. That said, doing the work ahead of time to engage with donors and getting accurate estimates of anticipated food donations allows you to build the proper scale up front, which means you won’t have to scramble to expand your program when you quickly exceed your rescue capacity.
Whether you start small or go big, I urge you to act on what you’ve learned in this chapter and invest in the use of these powerful production-level tools to prevent food waste in the future. Investing in these tools can greatly reduce food waste and help feed those in need in your community.

Chapter Summary

• Become familiar with production-level tools, such as blast chillers and freeze dryers, to extend the shelf life of food.

• Utilize end of life foods to create meals and new shelf stable products.

• Use production-level tools and resources to prevent food from going to waste.

• Help feed the community by creating meals and new shelf stable products.

• Avoid making the same mistake in the future by utilizing available tools and resources.

• Start small or go big - any action is better than inaction.

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