Save Your “Greens” with Proper Food Storage

The future is starting to look a lot brighter, so it’s the perfect time for a fresh start that maximizes profitability in every way possible. How we store our valuable food inventory is an often overlooked means to improving profitability. If your business has ever had challenges with premature spoilage, read on because you’re not alone, and there is a quick fix for saving your greens.

According to a University of Arizona study conducted prior to the pandemic, 4-10% of food purchased by full service restaurants across America, an estimated 49 million pounds per day, was getting thrown out. That’s a shocking number, but in this age of social media and news that travels at lightning speed, it’s just too risky to serve food that doesn't look good. If it doesn’t pass inspection in the kitchen, it’s going to get tossed before it ever hits a plate. 

Statistics gathered by the National Restaurant Association show that food comprises 28%-35% of the typical, profitable restaurant’s costs. If 33% of your costs is food—and anywhere between 4 and 10% of that food is ending up in the trash or compost bin—1 to 3% of your total budget is being wasted. Adding that 1 to 3% back to the bottom line can make a significant difference, especially now that we are all trying to make up for lost time. What can you do to protect your valuable food investment?

Assess current food storage practices.

Are you using disposable food covers or none at all when storing food? Plastic wraps and foils are convenient and inexpensive food storage covers, especially during busy periods, but the downside is they shorten shelf life by leaving food vulnerable to premature decomposition during slower periods or unexpected business disruptions.

What makes good food go bad? Food spoilage is defined as a disagreeable change in a food's normal state that can be detected by smell, taste, touch, or sight. These unappealing changes are caused by a combination of the following culprits that can thankfully be controlled with proper food storage in a well-functioning walk-in cooler:

  • Air and Oxygen:  While oxygen is essential for life, it can have a degenerative effect on food color, vitamins, fats, and flavors. It can provide conditions that support microbial growth and cause damage to foods when it meets up with enzymes.
  • Microorganisms:  Molds and most yeast that cause food spoilage need oxygen to grow. They can often be found growing on the surface of foods when air is present.
  • Enzymes: Oxidizing enzymes are naturally present in food and speed up chemical reactions between oxygen and food components, leading to food spoilage.
  • Moisture: The amount of water in a food influences its appearance, texture, and flavor. All foods contain some water, but fresh fruits and vegetables contain the most--between 90% and 95%. Microorganisms need water to grow in food.

Keep destructive forces of nature out of the food.

A simple Cambro Seal Cover on a coordinating food pan is a small investment that will pay long-term dividends, extending shelf life 2 to 3 days on average. Seal Covers do this by keeping out air, moisture, and the other above-noted contaminants that work together to begin the food decomposition process. They also save space and improve organization by enabling stable stacking of food pans without the risk of cross-contamination that can occur with torn aluminum foil or loose plastic film.

Third party laboratory testing has shown that the Cambro Seal Cover on a Cambro Food Pan can extend the shelf life of produce by 2–3 days beyond storage with disposable wraps, foils, or no cover at all. Field restaurant testing confirmed the same shelf life extension with both produce and proteins. This gives you time to use up valuable inventory before it begins to look unappetizing or becomes unsafe to eat.

Keep Seal Covers clean and ready to use.

Use a Camrack Open End Tray Rack to make cleaning and sanitizing Seal Covers quick and easy. Its eight rows of pegs keep covers separated and in place for thorough washing. Designed specifically for commercial dishwashers, the Open End Tray Rack’s durable design withstands chemicals and high temperatures up to 200°F and fits all the way up to the largest 20 7/8" x 12 3/4" Seal Covers for full-sized Cambro pans. This versatile wash rack is also perfect for washing cutting boards, sheet pans, trays, and even Camshelving shelf plates.

Air dry Seal Covers and keep them visible and accessible all in one step.

Creating a home for Seal Covers where they are organized and readily accessible makes it easier for staff get in the habit of using them for food storage. The Camshelving Vertical Drying Rack was designed specifically for hygienic air drying of flat kitchen wares such as lids, trays, cutting boards, and bun pans that can be a challenge to keep organized. Available in Camshelving Premium Series and Camshelving Elements Series (both with a lifetime warranty against rust and corrosion on posts and traverses), these mobile racks have removable, dishwasher safe Drying Cradles. Each cradle has seven slots to securely hold wares upright and separated to promote air circulation for faster drying in a minimal amount of space.

Ready to start saving your “greens” and adding to the bottom line? Contact us!


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