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In Focus: F&B@Sea

F&B waste management solutions explored at F&B@Sea

L-R: Ed Eiswith, Stan Schmal, Adam Kaye and Rocco Paradiso at F&B@Sea on April 11
With a host of plant-based offerings and sustainable products featured at F&B@Sea, the topic of waste reduction and upcycling proved popular.

Capitalizing on this growing trend was a panel called 'F&B Waste Management Solutions: Reducing, Upcycling, Disposing,' hosted by Power Knot, which attracted a full crowd. 

Moderator Rocco Paradiso, BDM of CookUP Group Inc. led the discussion on the timely topic with panelists including Adam Kaye, co-founder/chief culinary officer at The Spare Food Co., Ed Eiswith, senior director of beverage operations at Royal Caribbean International, and Stan Schmal, director AI & digital at Lufthansa Industry Solutions US.

During his opening remarks Paradiso noted: 'We ae building more and more awareness by using data,' to curb the 1.2 trillion dollars of food wasted and that 'if just 25% of tossed food were recovered nearly 800,000 people could be fed.'

Panelists then shared their efforts and goals on curbing food waste.

Kaye, who immediately reminded everyone 'I am not from the cruise industry, but I am a trained chef,' said, 'one way to change our mindset is by simply saying wasted food and not food waste – interchanging those words is a big step.'  

Also, Kaye shared that food waste is a leading cause of gas emissions 'as well as the production of that food which includes fertilizer and transportation,' adding 'we have an incredible opportunity to do something actionable about this.'

Kaye spoke of familiar foods like French toast, traditionally made with day-old stale bread and the Mexican breakfast staple chilaquiles, as examples of cooking sustainably.

'At our company, we have created a burger that is 70% beef and 30% vegetables. Just that simple switch makes an impact and minimizes the carbon footprint,' Kaye said.

AI's role

Schmal, who works in the innovative world of artificial intelligence, made a case for the role AI plays in sustainability practices.

'Through AI, we learn from the behavior of people on cruises and make recommendations to the chef from our observations and food consumption by guests. When we hand over our behavioral data it can help assist with food waste.' However, AI is a learning process, and 'we are learning as we progress,' he said.

AI can help determine the waste of specific items like rice and pasta and advise cruise lines when it’s prudent to produce food in smaller batches.

'AI systems provide a real understanding of overall consumption and help tailor food production,' said Schmal. He also thanked shipboard food and beverage managers because 'only with their support of AI can we see real change.' 

Meatless and vegan options

Ed Eiswith, senior director of beverage operations for Royal Caribbean International, said, 'We are anticipating an uptick in millennial and Gen Z cruisers and offering them more meatless and vegan options and communicating that in a way that is not forceful.' Meaning that from a guest standpoint 'there is a fine line we do not want to cross with the wasteful message. We want to inform but not alienate people,' Eiswith said.

In addition to existing sustainable technology, the company plans low-tech options like making garnishes from produce scraps while expanding their waste management chef training program which Eiswith said has been very successful.

All these initiatives and plans will continue the industry’s efforts toward more sustainable food operations.

F&B@Sea, dedicated to the cruise food and beverage community, launched in 2023. This year it took place from April 10-11 at Miami’s Mana Wynwood Convention Center, held in tandem with Seatrade Cruise Global from April 8-11 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

Next year’s F&B@Sea will run from April 9-10, concurrent with Seatrade Cruise Global 2025 from April 7-10. The venues for the two events are unchanged. 

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