What is a baseball game without some peanuts and Cracker Jack? Or a basketball game without a slice of ’za and soda? Stadium venues satiate our appetites during games, but what happens to all the unsold food when the buzzer sounds and the crowd leaves?
One Redditor, who works at a hockey arena pizza stand, shared that employees are instructed to trash excess food after games. This is especially problematic when the stands are quiet and more food goes unsold.
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“We only sold 6 pizzas and 9 beers in a crowd of 2,000 ppl. And the picture above shows the pizzas we couldn’t sell, but can’t eat either (cuz that would be stealing apparently),” the Redditor posted. “I just don’t understand why we can’t at least give it to homeless shelters or something cuz this is just cruel.”
Many commenters related to this post, as this policy is common across venues and restaurants. About 46% of the 80 million tons of food that is wasted yearly in America comes from the food industry, according to FeedingAmerica.
Not only is food waste hard to stomach socially, but once the food finds its way to a landfill, it also emits powerful planet-warming pollution as it breaks down.
While some businesses donate leftover food to the homeless, they may do so discreetly. Food service companies are said to discourage this behavior because they are afraid of getting sued if anyone eating their donated food gets sick.
As one commenter put it: “Would you risk being accountable when a homeless man gets food poisoning and comes after you?”
While composting could be an option, and companies such as Kroger and Trader Joe’s have found ways to save food from landfills in certain circumstances, they were donating grocery items, not prepared foods, and donations of prepared foods may not be accepted. However, there are other options.
Individuals can help by packing their leftovers to take home. Additionally, food service companies can come up with better systems. A pizza parlor in Detroit, PizzaPlex, redesigned its menu to eliminate food waste. PizzaPlex monitors the popularity of new menu items to ensure that unpopular items are immediately removed, reducing the amount of ingredients that go unused in its kitchen.
“Staff and management just have to try to make food waste a focus and also come up with a strategy to manage leftover food,” another Redditor said. “It’s doable, someone just has to do it.”
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