Meetings

Tuesday Buzz: Trimming Down Food Waste at Events

You may not be required by law to save your left over food, but you can still keep your event ahead of the sustainability curve. Here's how. Also: It's OK to admit you're wrong.

The social effects of food waste are becoming hard to ignore—just ask France.

Last week, the French parliament unanimously passed a bill requiring grocery stores to stop throwing out unused food and instead donate it to charities or for use as compost or animal feed.

“I have been insulted and attacked and accused of being naive and idealistic, but I became a local councilor because I wanted to help people,” Arash Derambarsh, the primary advocate of the new law, told The Guardian. “Perhaps it is naive to be concerned about other human beings, but I know what it is like to be hungry.”

For associations, avoiding food waste is an equally important issue. Mariela McIlwraith, president of Meeting Change, has some advice for cutting down on the waste at your events. The key is to know your options.

“For event planners, the decision that will have the greatest impact on your food waste strategy is your choice of supplier,” she writes in a blog post. “When selecting a venue, caterer, or other food service provider, ask about how they deal with food waste, and for specific examples of how they work with their supply chain to reduce food loss and food waste.”

Strategies include setting out smaller plates, serving similar menu items to different clients, and serving “blemished” food (McIlwraith’s example: chocolate-covered strawberries of different sizes).

The Specialty Food Association set a great example when it gathered around 90,000 pounds of left over food from its 2014 event in New York City and delivered it to nearby homeless shelters. Looking for ways to get started? Check out the resources offered by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance.

Don’t Be Afraid to be wrong

It’s easy to embrace being right. It’s much harder—painful, even—to admit that you’re wrong. In his latest blog post, marketing expert Seth Godin notes that the admission can be challenging, but it might lead to the best solution.

“Given a choice between changing tactics based on data and staying on the road in the wrong direction, I think the best path is pretty clear,” he writes on his blog. “The hard part is figuring out what to tell the others.”

Think you have the guts to make that admission? (ht @SmoothThePath)

Other Links of Note

“If you are having trouble getting people to pay for your e-learning, value is the first issue to investigate.” Tagoras cofounder Jeff Cobb, in a guest post for Event Garde, pokes holes in the most common e-learning myths.

Working with a vendor on your association’s website? Vanguard Technology’s Chris Bonney lays out some important steps to keep in mind.

WiFi is no longer enough. Meeting venues need to offer more to remain on top of the tech heap, according to Event Manager Blog‘s Julius Solaris.

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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