Suur-Savo tackles food loss

S Group's restaurants are getting serious about reducing food loss. The surplus food from lunch buffets is made available for consumers to purchase through the ResQ Club food service.

In restaurants, food loss is generated in the kitchen, food presentation and customers' orders. Managing loss from buffet tables, in particular, is a continuous balancing act between the visual appeal of the presentation of food and minimising loss.

Some of S Group's restaurants have involved customers in the management of loss by selling excess food from lunch buffets at a reduced price through a mobile application. For example, two Suur-Savon Osuuskauppa cooperative's restaurants have been offering the ResQ Club service since last autumn.

"We offer a maximum of about a dozen ResQ Club portions from the restaurants every day. The service was implemented in October 2016, and by the end of 2017, nearly 800 portions of food had been salvaged through it," says Petri Tiainen, development manager for food products.

Every day, the restaurants enter the portions being offered for sale in the system as well as the time frame for picking up the portions. The price is usually about half of the regular price of the buffet lunch and is paid though the application. According to Tiainen, the service has been received well, and currently, more than 90 per cent of the portions offered through ResQ Club get sold.

"The service has brought us new customers, who might not otherwise have lunch at a restaurant. In addition, the personnel are happy to see that less food needs to be discarded in organic waste from the buffet," Tiainen says.

In addition to the Suur-Savon Osuuskauppa cooperative, the ResQ surplus food service is in use at individual restaurants of the Arina, Eepee and Kymen Seudun Osuuskauppa cooperatives. Other cooperatives are also investigating opportunities to implement the service in the future.

Photo: Johanna Kakriainen