system redesign / waste reduction plan

pantry waste reduction project 

As part of my management rotation during my dietetic internship, I decided to take on a personal project on decreasing food waste at UCSF Medical Center. The hospital carries small pantries on each floor to provide food and beverages for patients during times the main kitchen or cafeteria is closed. When I started my project, the pantries provided 4 meal box options (meat or vegetarian versions of either spaghetti or a sandwich), and each pantry was restocked up to a par level every night. The problem, however, was that nobody knew how many meal boxes were actually being used up and how much waste we were generating every day.



Project annual waste generated from patient pantries at Parnassus Hospital. 


Suggest an alternative model for product flow that will decrease food and dollar waste. 


Waste is generated daily from unused and expiring patient night meal boxes at Parnassus. The latest par levels were estimated on 1/2/2018 based on historical practice.


The process of obtaining and analyzing the data to create an alternative product flow required three days of data collection, as well as the help of the Nutrition Services staff. Below is an outline of the process:



3,861 lbs of food were being wasted yearly from unused and expired patient night meal boxes.


13% of 88 night meal boxes made are being wasted daily. 


Some units had an excess of meal boxes being restocked, whereas other units had a shortage.


I discovered 2 additional units where the pantries were being stocked with night meal boxes. These units were initially not on the nutrition department's radar, and were discovered with the help of FSAs. 


I determined new par levels that would help save 3,869 lbs of food/year, or $1,719 a year.


To summarize my project, I presented my process and findings to the food service management crew. Take a look at my presentation below or click here to view the pdf version.



Through this project, I was able to exercise my management, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Relaying the task of data collection to tens of food service assistants, along with the coordination involved with the FSA manager was key for my management experience. My creativity and critical thinking skills came in mostly during the data analysis section, where I needed to weigh all data sets, determine a variable (AKA # of meals used), and derive a solution to meet patient needs while minimizing waste. It was amazing to see the what the act of saving on a couple of meal boxes per day could do in the long run, and I hope that the patient meal pantries continue to be re-evaluated each year with the tools that I made for data collection and analysis.

 © Sofia Moon 2020 

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