Meetings consume -- and unfortunately, waste -- a lot of resources. It's not just energy and paper, however. It's also food, writes Geraldine Gatehouse, western region marketing consultant for IMEX America, in an article for Northstar Meetings Group.
"Planners spend about $50 billion on food and beverage in the U.S.," Tracy Stuckrath, president and chief connecting officer of Thrive! Meetings & Events, tells Gatehouse. "Multiply that figure by 40 percent, and the resulting $21 billion is what we waste."
All that wasted food could benefit hungry bellies, as well as starving bottom lines. To benefit both, you might want to consider making changes at your next meeting that will minimize the problem.
Stuckrath shared a couple of suggestions with Gatehouse. One is to "check the history of previous events to evaluate any items offered that didn't get consumed." Say, if the convention center served boxed lunches with sandwiches for its last major convention, and nobody ate the roast beef, perhaps you shouldn't serve roast beef.
Another suggestion is to "adjust … numbers according to arrival and departure times," says Gatehouse. If some attendees are leaving Thursday night, for instance, you might be able to get away with a smaller breakfast on Friday morning.
Finally, Gatehouse says to "check out the World Wildlife Fund's new platform, called HotelKitchen.org," which is an interactive toolkit that's chock-full of tips to help hotels and event planners minimize food waste.
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