Andrea Woods, VP Zero Waste

Driving Toward A Zero-Waste Zone: An Interview With Andrea Woods

As part of the world’s largest contract foodservice company that serves over 10 million meals each and every day, Morrison Community Living is on a mission to raise awareness of the massive food waste issue and also provide solutions to reduce it. Collectively as an organization, we can make an enormous impact by changing our processes, collaborating with our partners, and educating the masses. However, big things start small, and individuals who have set out to reduce food waste in their own kitchen culture help lead and inspire others to do the same.

Andrea Woods, Vice President of Performance Excellence and Support Services for Morrison Community Living, is striving to make a positive impact to reduce food waste with simple, yet effective habits at home, while also playing a large role by leading sustainability efforts for Morrison Community Living. We sat down with her to find out more:


How are you reducing food waste in your kitchen culture?

On Sundays, I meal prep for the entire week which helps me map out portion sizes but it also allows me to create recipes using the same ingredients more than once. I prepare a well-thought-out grocery list and only buy what I know I’ll use for that week. If there happen to be any leftovers, our family takes them for lunch the next day. Meal prep is a great way to save me time during the week, focus on healthy, nutritious meals, and of course reduce food waste.


What are some tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in professional and home kitchens?

At home, it’s very important to plan out your shopping list and make recipes that reuse ingredients. Wilted vegetables or brown fruits can be used for smoothies or baked bread, and popping leftovers into the freezer can save perfectly good food and make it last longer.

In a professional setting, understanding your inventory is key! You have to understand production numbers—what is getting sold versus what is being produced.  Just like at home, we have to measure portion sizes, understand the amount of food that gets thrown away and get creative with recipes. Morrison uses a tool to track and measure food waste at the account level. This tool allows chefs to pinpoint where the majority of waste is coming from and why.


What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Shop smarter and pay attention to what you’re throwing away. If 25% of the food currently lost or wasted were saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people. We need to be grateful for the food we have and not take it for granted.


What is Morrison Community Living doing to reduce food waste?

We’re striving to raise awareness of the global food crisis through the Stop Food Waste Day Campaign with Compass Group. As we celebrate Stop Food Waste Day on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, millions of zero-food-waste meals will be served throughout cafes in hospitals, schools, arenas, corporations, museums and senior living communities. We also host educational opportunities through our Teaching Kitchens and provide zero-waste recipes guests to utilize at home.


What is Morrison Community Living’s waste-reduction agenda?

Morrison Community Living is focused on buying local products and has set out a goal to increase our local spend 100% year-over-year in 2020. We’re also committed to buying 100% of our seafood from sustainable sources by 2020 as well. Compass Group has a goal to reduce waste 25% by 2020, and 50% by 2030.

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