SMM Web Academy - Grocers and the EPA Food Recovery Challenge Transcript
Michael Hewitt, Director of Evironmental and Sustainability Programs PublixSuper Markets, Inc.
Kasey Harris, Environmental Specialists, Hannaford Supermarkets
Heather Schmidt, Sustainability Manager, Now Seasons Market
Christine Beling (Moderator), Green Venues Coordinatior (US EPA Region 1)
Patric Jones: Good afternoon, and welcome to today's web seminar on Grocers and EPA's Food Recovery Challenge. This seminar is sponsored by the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy.
Today's seminar will be moderated by Christine Beling. Christine joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency, New England Region, in December of 1994. She is currently a member of the Assistance and Pollution Prevention Unit in the Office of Environmental Stewardship. This unit focuses on non-regulatory initiatives aimed at resource conservation, extended product responsibility, product stewardship, waste prevention, and recycling actions by the public and private sectors.
With that, we are ready to start today's seminar. I will now turn the time over to our Moderator, Christine?
Christine Beling: Greetings, and welcome to the December 2011 edition of the Sustainable Material and Management Web Academy. We are happy that you are participating. This 90-minute monthly education series is hosted by EPA to provide training and networking opportunities to state and local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders, and in this case specifically those interested in the grocery sector.
Jacob Hassan is a Community Recycling Coordinator in U.S. EPA Chicago's Materials Management Program, and will give a nuts-and-bolts primer on establishing recycling programs at large, multi-venue sporting events, using examples from his work at the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Men's and Women's final four basketball championships. He'll cover best practices, challenges, and lesson learned.
As Patrick mentioned, today's topic is Grocers and EPA's Food Recovery Challenge. Our goal today is to both educate and motivate you to join EPA's Food Recovery Challenge through our WasteWise program. WasteWise is a free, voluntary program through which organizations evaluate their waste streams, looking to benefit their triple bottom line – people, planet, and profits.
I want to share with you a bit about the genesis of EPA's Food Recovery Challenge before we launch into today's presentations. How much food and money are your organization or you literally throwing away? The Food Recovery Challenge challenges participants to identify their food waste and to reduce as much of their food waste as possible, utilizing our hierarchy, while saving money, helping communities and protecting the environment. Food waste is a bit of a misnomer, as well. Food waste that is recovered is actually a valuable resource, hence, the name Food Recovery Challenge.
The slide that you are looking at represents a volume metric calculation of the Rose Bowl capacity using USDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, data on the amount of food waste daily in the United States as calculated by Author, [Jonathan Blum]. I always think a picture is worth a thousand words, especially on a webinar. So follow the link to the Food Recovery Challenge, if you would think you'd like to join EPA in this effort. FYI, the Rose Bowl seats 92,000 people.
Finally, before we move into the content of today's webinar, I have the distinct pleasure of recognizing SUPERVALU. And I'll just wait for a sec until the slide pulls up. EPA would like to recognize longtime WasteWise partner, SUPERVALU, Incorporated, who received the 2011 WasteWise Honorable Mention for Food Recovery. SUPERVALU is a grocery and retail pharmacy company that includes stores you might be familiar with, like Albertson's, Shoppers, Jewel, Osco, and Shaw's.
SUPERVALU made waste reduction and recycling a priority in 2010 and is striving towards maximum waste reduction. SUPERVALU worked with Feeding America to donate edible but unsellable foods to Food Banks by diverting more than 30,000 tons of food from the landfill and avoiding more than $2.5 million in landfill costs. Congratulations to SUPERVALU, and thank you for joining the Food Recovery Challenge.
So, now, moving into today's webinar. We have three knowledgeable speakers lined up. Our first speaker is Michael Hewett, who will discuss the Food Marketing Institute's and the Grocery Manufacturers Association's new waste opportunities and challenge initiative. Our next two speakers are both longtime WasteWise partners, who will talk about their successes and experiences relating to food recovery. First, we'll hear from Kasey Harris, representing Hannaford Supermarkets, part of [Delhaize Group]. And the next up will be Heather Schmidt, representing New Seasons Market.
After each speaker we will pause, answer one or two burning questions, so please type the questions into the chat box that you see on the right-hand side of your screen. We will also have time at the end of the session for your questions. So thanks, again, for participating, and now let's get started. Michael?
Michael Hewett is a Manager for Sustainability and Environmental Compliance at Publix Super Markets. Michael has over 20 years of experience in environmental management, including regulatory compliance and sustainability programs. His career has been spent helping corporations with strong environmental compliance programs and sustainable business strategies.
Michael, please begin?
Michael Hewett's Presentation
Michael Hewett: Thank you, Christine. And let me just start off by saying how much I appreciate the opportunity and the invitation from EPA to come and talk about our initiative, which we think is very important. And, as you heard Christine already say, food waste is already a big problem for us here in the United States and it's a growing problem, it's one we can't ignore anymore. We've put far too many human and natural resources into growing and preparing, transporting, and serving our food to then simply throw literally billions of pounds of that food away every year within the United States.
So, recognizing this, the grocery manufacturers and their association, GMA, as well as the food retailers and our Association, FMI, got together and actually in 2010 started to discuss opportunities around this issue and how we might approach addressing our involvement. And, as a result, FMI and GMA got together and formed the Food Waste Opportunities and Challenges Coalition. And it's my pleasure to Co Chair that Coalition with Bob Branham from General Mills.
In addition, we have a great list of participants in this growing Coalition. On the manufacturer side we have folks, like Sara Lee and Campbell's and Kellogg's. We also have Nestle and others. On the retail side we have Hannaford and Unified Grocers, Wagman's, as well as Kroeger, SUPERVALU, of course, SUPERVALU, WasteWise Award Winner this year. We definitely wanted them involved, as well as others.
We have other stakeholders involved in our Coalition. Feeding America plays a very important role, as well as waste management. We have also pulled in the National Restaurant Association into our Coalition. So realizing that on the manufacturing and the retail side the food service side is also an important slice of the pie, so we invited the NRA to the table. And with them have come [Darden]. At our last meeting we also had Yum Brands and McDonalds, and we're reaching out to others.
So we've got this wonderful Coalition together now. We've been meeting since June. We've set out a three-year schedule, four phases of work to be completed during that three years. The first sort of mode would be identifying the issues, scope development so that we can clearly develop a problem statement. We're looking at policy, background, research so that we can identify and prioritize our biggest obstacles, where we need to act first.
Outreach also very important to our coalition. One of the first organizations we met with actually during our first formal meeting was EPA to sit down and talk about the Food Waste Challenge and WasteWise. So we're very involved in that, as well.
And then once we move past the study phase of work we'll move into implementation, which will involve expanding the use of best practices and supporting relevant policies. Trying to build-out infrastructure. Implementing pilot support, solutions, pilot projects. Education is also an important element.
So the mission of the Coalition is actually very simple. Our mission is simply put to get more food donated, more viable food donated to people in need, and then to keep the rest of the food, the food waste, out of landfills and have it used for some other useful purpose, which we broadly refer to as reuse or recycling.
In order to reach these goals we have four deliverables, which are assessment, communication, policy, and emerging solutions and best practices. We've developed subcommittees around each one of those deliverables, and those committees are now meeting and working concurrently on fulfilling their missions. First, of course, is the assessment phase, which we're well into now, a two tiered assessment, first looking at the broad issue of food waste generation in the United States. The second tier of that assessment will be drilling down and looking specifically within our four walls of manufacturing and retail and food service.
So expect to hear more about this in the future. Expect us to be doing some press releases and publishing some data and some reports in perhaps the late spring or summer of 2012. And also keep in mind that there will be opportunities as we build this coalition going forward, opportunities for everyone on the phone to participate.
So with that, Christine, that's it in a nutshell. If we have any time right now I'll take a few questions.
Christine Beling: Michael, we do have one question. And can you remind us, again, the name of the Coalition that you stated?
Michael Hewitt: Yes, thank you very much.
Christine Beling: Thank you.
Kasey, we now have Kasey Harris, our second speaker, who is an Environmental Specialist with Hannaford Supermarkets, here in New England. Kasey manages recycling and waste reduction initiatives for Hannaford Supermarkets. Kasey developed and executed the plan to double the number of stores with organic recycling processes in Hannaford from 50 stores to 100 stores in 2011, removing over 7,000 tons of food waste from landfills. Kasey?
Kasey Harris: Hi, there. Thank you, Chris, and thank you, Michael, for a great set-up for my presentation. My name is Kasey Harris. I'm the Environmental Programs Specialist at Hannaford. I've been in the Sustainability Department at Hannaford for two years and been with the Company for 13 years.
But I'm really excited to talk to you today about our food recovery practices at Hannaford. So the quick agenda for me is that I will go over a brief Hannaford organizational overview. I'll talk about sustainability at Hannaford. I'll reference the EPA Food Recovery hierarchy. And then I plan to talk about Hannaford's processes within that hierarchy, within each level.
So briefly let me just tell you who we are, Hannaford. Hannaford is part of a larger international organization called Delhaize Group. Delhaize Group is based in Belgium, and operates food retail outlets in Belgium, Greece, Indonesia, Romania, Serbia, and the U.S. So within Delhaize, we have Hannaford. Hannaford is based in Maine, well, it's based in Scarborough, Maine. We have 179 grocery stores that serve Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. We're a full service grocer in 35K square foot to 56K square foot formats. We focus primarily on fresh products – produce, meat, seafood, deli. And we employ about 27,000 associates.
So let me talk about – I'd like to talk about our commitment as a group to sustainability. In early 2010 our group wide business strategy was rolled out to over 100,000 Delhaize Group Associates. And this plan reflects how we'll go about our business and achieve our vision and values.
The quote above is from the vision language. We aspire to enrich the lives of our customers, associates, and the communities we serve in a sustainable way. Part of that vision is delivering on nutritious, healthy, safe, affordable, and sustainable products and practices as an organization. So the plan or sort of the house you see in front of you is a comprehensive look at all that is required to help us achieve our vision. And what I want to direct you to is the three strategic priorities in the center of the house. And those are growth, efficiency, and corporate responsibility. And within corporate responsibility you see products, people, and planet. So you can gather that corporate responsibility and sustainable practices that we are talking about today are core to who we are at Hannaford.
Here I have the picture that most of you have probably seen on the EPA site, but the EPA's food recovery hierarchy. And Hannaford is guided by the hierarchy as preferred options to make the most of excess food. In general, source reduction is always first, so when we do have excess food we try to feed people first, animals second, compost third, and central landfill as a last and least preferred option. And, you can see, I have a quote from [Molly Charleston], who is a great partner of ours in community relations, that Hannaford Supermarkets is continuously working to reduce waste and increase recycling while remaining committed to our hunger relief efforts.
So now I plan to just briefly talk about each level of that hierarchy, and within that level what some of the examples of what we do at Hannaford to support that. So, if you remember at the top, there was source reduction. And source reduction is to reduce the volume of surplus food generated. So tackling food waste is a core competency in the responsible growth of our business. On one hand, well monitored food management reduces operational costs and it supports our growth. However, promotions that can grow sales can also increase waste. So the two impacts show the need for a holistic approach in food waste management.
To address this, we think of food recovery in a three tiered manner, where we talk about prevention, donation, and conversion. So under food prevention it would be how to reduce the source. The two items I want to direct you to are seven-day fresh deliveries, and that was significant in that in the past we had people at the stores ordering out or ordering a couple of days out, so they would have to figure out what kind of sales they were going to have that day, how much they needed to bring in, what they needed to order three days out. So it was a tricky process, based on sales and weather and lots of things.
So what we did was we considered if we could have a fresh truck delivery every day. And in order to do this we looked at deliveries to all our stores. We eliminated some center store loads, more of the nonperishable loads, and we consolidated some stores and sort of rebuilt the whole trucking network on deliveries. We expected some higher costs, but ended up cost neutral. And what we ended up with was more accurate ordering because of fresh delivery was coming for produce and meats and deli every single day. We ended up with less shrink because people weren't having to plan out beyond one day, and we also found improvement in quality and in sales, so it was a real win for Hannaford.
The second piece on source reduction is consumer – sorry, computer assisted ordering, or CAO. And what products and supplies to all of our warehouse products and any fresh items with a UPC, so maybe anything you could scan at the register. And what this takes into account is a massive computer system that can consider what comes into our store and what goes out of our store for inventory. It knows what items we have on hand, it knows what the minimal inventories are that we want at the store, it's sophisticated enough to know whether -- how many items come in a case, so it can decide when to bring that product in and it orders appropriately. It's quite sophisticated, it's pretty impressive, it can utilize sales trends. We can even type in information about snow storms and weather and case counts, and it was pretty overwhelming but quite alarming to learn about CAO. So that's source reduction.
So if you look further down the hierarchy, the next level is feed hungry people. And donate extra food to Food Banks, soup kitchens, and shelters. And Hannaford has two major ways that we focus on this. And one is retail fresh rescue, and one is reclamation product. Retail fresh rescue, Hannaford stores partner with local Food Banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens to establish year-round food donation agreements. Hannaford provides detailed guidance for stores to set-up perishable food donation programs. This program reduces food waste and alleviates hunger by collecting donations of unmarketable but still safe and edible food from our stores, primarily bakery, produce, meat and deli, and distributing it to agency use.
These programs, the retail fresh rescue, are managed at store level, so they allow store managers and store leadership to create relationships with the local pantries, but however we feel that they're very present in our stores. We recently did an audit of our stores to see how many stores were participating in the retail fresh rescue, and 24 out of 25 stores across the five states we do business in had this program in place.
Secondly is the reclamation product, and that's when we talk about nonperishable items, really those center store aisle items that are damaged but still fit for human consumption. That might be a dented can or a broken box but it hasn't gotten into the seal of the inside of the cereal box, that type of thing. Those are collected at the stores and returned to our Products Recovery Center in Maine. The reclamation product is donated and distributed directly to our regional Food Banks. Reclamation product donations to Food Banks have dwindled over the past 10 years, as we have become more efficient in our product ordering based on the previous slide, we've become much more efficient with CAO. So the amount of product that goes back has dwindled.
But as we get this item we donate and sort to the Food Banks listed here, so we've got the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Maine, a New Hampshire Food Bank, a Vermont Food Bank, a couple in New York, and three in Massachusetts. So we're very proud of our programs, and we donated over 3,000 tons in 2010.
With the livestock farm donation area stores are able to divert waste from the landfill by creating an arrangement with the farm to pick-up the store's food waste. This is also managed locally at the store level, not managed in here at the Corporate house, but it's a great program, it has no cost to Hannaford, diverts from the compactor, and provides nutritious feed for the pigs at certainly a low cost for those farmers, so we support that program. You can see how happy the pigs are when they're eating.
Okay, the next level is industrial uses. So this is provide waste oils for rendering and fuel conversion and food scraps for digestion to recover energy. So rendering that is removed from our meat departments is really the raw material from food animals is recycled into animal feeds for poultry. And this is primarily in the meat department, the fat and the bone, also any seafood if we've filleted a fish or we've taken some seafood out of the case, also deli could be rotisserie chickens, chicken items, meat and that type of thing. So that's recycled into animal feed.
And the other piece is grease that's removed from the deli departments, which is – the used grease removed from the deli departments are rendered to remove the solids and the moisture from the cooking oil, and they are made into either liquid animal feed for the poultry industry or in the production of biofuels. And Hannaford Stores, as you can see on this screen, donated 2,400 tons – or, excuse me, recycled 2,400 tons in 2010.
Finally, we have composting, and this is something that's near and dear to my heart over the past year or so. So what you have in front of you is a map of our store locations, and it's tricky to see but what I want to point out is all the stores that are in the reddish orange color are stores that have composting programs today. So we're doing a really good job getting out across our organization. We have over 100 locations that are actively composting.
So I'm just going to take you through a series of pictures to show you what our program looks like and feels like at the store. So there's one of our happy associates dumping some product. We have toter program, and you can see he's dumping them into a green toter. Our toters have four wheels on them, so they wheel around the store pretty easily for associates because the toters can get pretty heavy. But the food waste is collected in those toters, and maintenance – our maintenance associates typically gather those toters and bring them back to the store and stage them for the food waste hauler.
So there's some full toters with some produce and some deli items. There, right here, is when the toters are staged for our food waste hauler to pick them up. We have pick-up twice a week, which works well. We have that across almost all of our locations. What else? Each department has specific guidelines, deli, bakery, meat, on what can and cannot go into the compost bins. And we worked pretty hard on identifying those and clarifying that for associates so that the standard practice documentation is out there, easy to find and easy to use for associates.
This is the truck that's coming to pick-up the totes and there the totes are loaded. It's a pretty – it's an excellent truck, fits the totes perfectly. This is one vendor that has about 60 of our stores in Massachusetts, new Hampshire, and Maine. You can see them lifting up, and they're actually going to dump right into his truck.
This is where the – this is the compost facility. You can see the truck and bottom, who is actually dumping out the compost. The compost facility is based in Massachusetts, and just you can see the whole process where they might be gathering, but yard waste, mix, the compost. You can see it – you can actually see the steam on the pile over there.
Here it is in the windrows where it's forming into its excellent fertilizer. And here it is in the large green machine, is the sorting machine to get the best product out. And there it is growing some wonderful plants and produce, hopefully that we're going to be selling in our stores. And last year we diverted 3,000 tons of food waste, and we're expecting with the huge increase in composting storage this year we'll be diverting about 7,000 tons of food waste.
And one thing that we're really excited and I'm proud of is that we are actually able to sell our compost in our Massachusetts stores, so it's kind of a neat story in that the food that's – the food waste that's at our stores leaves our stores, becomes compost at [Brick End's Farm]. Brick End's Farm works with two other organizations. One is called Fast River, who works with developmentally disabled adults, and they bag the compost. And then they also work with a third organization, called Kids Be Kids, which is based out of Children's Hospital in Boston. And these kids make artwork to be put on things like this. They have cups and lots of cool things with kids' artwork on them. So we're actually selling our compost in our Massachusetts stores, so it's really a full, full loop product.
So, finally, 2010 wins for Hannaford. Hannaford recycled 67.29% of the total waste in 2010. Our percentage has gone up each year for the past, at least three years. We are comfortable that that's well above industry average, and we're excited to grow that percentage again in 2012. We also of note have some recycling and programs that we're participating in Massachusetts, we are certified in the Supermarket Recycling Program. And in Maine we are participating in and certified in a handful of stores in the EPA's Environmental Leader Program. So lots going on for us. Really proud of our organization and its commitment to sustainability, and excited to see that work grow in 2012. That's it.
Christine Beling: Feel free, no pressure here. Another question, kind of getting around CO2 emissions and the changing of trucks. I know you said you took, it was cost neutral, but do you look at CO2 emissions, as well?
Kasey Harris: I asked that question this morning, and I didn't get a full – hold on a minute, let me pull-up that slide. I did not get that detail. Again, that was on that same source reduction slide that it was cost neutral – was the question did we look at CO2 emissions from the trucks?
Christine Beling: Yes, did it increase CO2?
Kasey Harris: I believe we looked at that, but I'd have to get – I'd have to go into detail again and get back.
Christine Beling: Okay, no worries. Now we have a host of questions relating to donating to animals, I guess just donating is not exactly the right word, sorry about that, you know, giving food to animals or the liability around that, the mad cow disease around that, the Health Department issues around that? Do you have any comments?
Kasey Harris: Well, we have a food waste agreement, and so my assumption – I would have to look at that food waste agreement, but our Legal Team created that document and has reviewed it in the past year. So I think that that – what's the word I want?
Christine Beling: Liability?
Kasey Harris: Yes, covers the liability piece, because I know that there was concern, but we just have a basic one-page thing that says sort of once it leaves our facility it is intended to be used in this manner and it is not – we are not liable if it's used differently kind of thing. I'm probably talking in way too simple terms, but.
Christine Beling: Okay, we can go from there. Another question we have is what is the cost associated with rendering of animal feed or are you able to generate revenue? So I guess is that a better cost situation for you than a landfill?
Kasey Harris: The cost is I believe per pick-up, per store. And, yes, it is better than a landfill. And there is potential to put rendering in compost, as well, depending on what state you're in and if they're close. So there is a cost associated with rendering. We work with [Baker Commodities], but it works out to be less than putting it in a landfill.
Christine Beling: Okay.
Kasey Harris: Did that answer that question?
Christine Beling: Yes. We have a couple of questions that we've dealt with in the Massachusetts program, as kind of like you're an anchor store. Have – do you have any relationships with smaller stores that you kind of can shepherd if they don't have enough food waste or participate in your program?Christine Beling: Yes. We have a couple of questions that we've dealt with in the Massachusetts program, as kind of like you're an anchor store. Have – do you have any relationships with smaller stores that you kind of can shepherd if they don't have enough food waste or participate in your program?
Kasey Harris: I guess I didn't really understand the question, like other stores that are not Hannaford?
Christine Beling: Right, like say a small restaurant is next to Hannaford's and they would like to divert their food waste?
Kasey Harris: I'm not sure about that. I mean it's certainly an interesting partnership to consider. We also could potentially hook them up with the, you know, could educate them on our program and the haulers and the toters and connect them with some people that we've worked with if we can't, indeed, actually have a partnership where they deliver their waste to our store.
Christine Beling: Right, and then it does get into a question about hauling vendors, and I certainly don't want to go into names on the webinar, and I imagine you must use more than one based on the geographic mix that you showed?
Kasey Harris: Yes, yes, but I can definitely offer that to people I guess offline, on e-mail, and I would be happy to share the people that we work with, particularly in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, they've been wonderful partners.
Christine Beling: Great. Thank you for that offer. Are any Hannaford stores using [in-vessel] technology or anything onsite?
Kasey Harris: Using what technology?
Christine Beling: In-vessel, you know, composting literally at the site?
Kasey Harris: No, we're not right now. We're in the process of looking at that. We've kind of – we've heard from a lot of vendors that want to come in and explain those, their machines to us, so we're right in the process of maybe taking a look at doing something like that potentially in some locations where we just can't do composting. It might be too rural. So, no, but we are interested to learn more.
Christine Beling: Great. Actually, this is kind of a loaded question, and I didn't even put this in, but someone said will Hannaford share standard practice documents for associates or can we get guidelines for other grocery stores? And just a bit of shameless self-promotion with a project that we did with NAS DEP we have a supermarket handbook that started some of this work, oh, five, 10 years ago now, and I'll be happy to share that link with you. If you Google NAS DEP and the supermarket certification program you'll get that resource, and it is a nice one. And we'd love to see more people using that. So that was a bit of shameless self-promotion.
I have a question -
Kasey Harris: I don't know about sharing it, I'd have to run that through a few channels, I'm sure, so.
Absolutely. We have a lot more questions, Kasey, that I'll give to you offline about vendors and connections, along those lines. So who – one last question on – or not last question – one question going up the food stream a little bit, do you worry about the avoided costs or the costs of food donation?
Kasey Harris: The cost of food donation?
Well, i.e., you're donating food, so obviously you have extra, so is there some – I don't remember the right word, is there a way that the Company looks at that and tries to reduce it?
Kasey Harris: Well, I think that the seven-day fresh and the CAO really are trying to reduce – I mean in all we always want to reduce shrink at the stores. We do measure the level of shrink. Department managers, you know, that's very important to them. Their goals are based on shrink levels. So we certainly manage and watch excess food very, very closely, and then with the product that, indeed, is excess and that is what it is, we do give it away. But I guess the cost of it would probably be a shrink question and that's managed and tracked very closely.
Christine Beling: We have a question, getting back to your map, what's the barriers for implementing composting programs in your other stores?
Kasey Harris: Some has just been time. It's – I've been adding – I've been in the job two years, added like 23 stores the first year and 50 the second year. So it's really just been I think time, for one. And finding the right compost facility and hauler is tricky, too. You might have a really nice compost facility but you might not – quite often we find that we can't find someone that can haul the product, and we've got people trying all different things to haul the food waste to get it to their site. So for the most part where we have good vendors and good hauling we have programs up and running. Where it will be trickier, where it's more rural or there's just no one in the area. But it seems to be a pretty growing industry, so I think within the next couple years we'll have more and more locations.
Christine Beling: Yes, and I think that was very clear statement on how the infrastructure is so different in different parts of the country, as in different states in New England.
Kasey Harris: Oh, it's all – all over the board, it really is.
Christine Beling: Getting to some questions about local Health Departments and sanitation for the toters, is that – any comment on that? Is it state by state, community by community?
Kasey Harris: Well, we have liners – I mean I don't – I haven't run into any concerns or feedback from that. We have liners in our toters to keep them clean. I think it was in one of the pictures, and those liners are not – they're not biodegradeable so we pull those liners out. We also afford time for the maintenance associates to wash the bins. I think they get time once a month. So I'm not – beyond that I haven't had complaints or concerns around that issue.
Christine Beling: And along the same lines have you had any problems with twice weekly collection?
Kasey Harris: With – I'm sorry?
Christine Beling: Twice weekly collections that you mentioned?
Kasey Harris: Oh, had any problems with it? No, it's excellent. We usually do on Monday or a Thursday, or a Tuesday and a Friday, and it really seems to work perfectly for our business.
Great. How are the tonnages measured, do you measure them in the food areas, does the hauler weigh, how do you do that?
Kasey Harris: It's, again it's kind of all – it's a little bit different per vendor. Some vendors might give me a number of totes and we average – a 65-gallon tote averages about 225 pounds, so we might calculate it that way. Actually, that's the most – that's probably the most universal way, is we get it in number of totes, and then we figure an average weight per tote to get our calculation to the total tons. And we – those are typically given to us by the haulers, yes.
Christine Beling: Okay, another bit of shameless self-promotion, can you talk a little bit about the Maine store certification program?
Kasey Harris: The Environmental Leader?
Yes, the program that's the Pollution Prevention Group in Maine's DEP?
Kasey Harris: Yes, we have two stores that are certified right now, and we are working on nine other stores. They actually may be certified at this point. I'm not finalizing that, I'm actually working with a colleague on that. So it's the Maine DEP doing, going through a series of I guess checklists around good sustainable practices, good environmental practices, and looking to certify businesses, like us, for this program. And we've been really thrilled with it, have a nice partnership with the organization, and are really hopeful to have all 11 stores certified by the end of the year.
Christine Beling: Yes, and just another bit there, that program goes well beyond the waste realm, it goes to [green chillers] and –
Christine Beling: -- it goes to energy and –
Kasey Harris: I almost equate it more to a [Lead] type of certification than just waste. Waste is just one piece of that certification.
Christine Beling: Great. I'm just going to wrap-up. Kasey, I have a lot of questions, but I do want to move on, but I have a couple more just to wrap-up with. Again, I get the impression people want to know what amount of your waste is donated, how do you go to animals and people? And I'm thinking that that's pretty specific store by store?
Kasey Harris: Yes.
Christine Beling: Do you have any advice for smaller food retailers to set-up a similar program that Hannaford has done, who have fewer resources, they don't have a Kasey is what I'm thinking?
Kasey Harris: Well, I've found that there's a lot of organizations out there that are trying to do this. Definitely in the restaurant industry. I know in Portland, Maine there's some energy – I feel as though there are sort of mini coalitions starting to come together. In Portland there's a bunch of restaurants that are organizing themselves with smaller toters and haulers. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, same kind of thing. So it might take a little bit of research, but there are these small pockets of people that are really trying to pull together, and trying to sort of create their own groups because they don't have 20 stores to add to a group but they have come together as, you know, a coalition of restaurants or things like that, and that's worked well.
Christine Beling: Yes, and I think EPA in our states, in New England and other parts of the country have tried very hard to build those coalitions. So if anyone has questions on that in your area please feel free to e-mail me and I'll be happy to set you up with what I know and what I can glean from our Panelists.
So, Kasey, I could go on and on and on, I have many, many, many more questions, but I think in the interest of time –
Kasey Harris: That's okay, you don't need to, that's fine.
Christine Beling: So in the interest of time I really want to thank you for your presentation. If we have more at the end we'll go back. And for those of you who have typed in questions and didn't get an answer, we will get you an answer offline.
So now let's move on to the West Coast, we're moving from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. And Heather Schmidt is joining us. Heather is a Sustainability Manager for New Seasons Market. Heather developed and managed a comprehensive Companywide program that includes progressive waste reduction and diversion. Under Heather's leadership the locally owned and operated grocer at 12 locations implemented diverse waste prevention and donation efforts and cut their garbage in half and more than doubled their compost. New Seasons Market is widely recognized for cutting edge sustainability practices, food equity and social responsibility.
Heather Schmidt's Presentation
Heather Schmidt: And thanks to Michael and Kasey. There are so many parallels between what we're doing at New Seasons Market and what Kasey just shared at Hannaford, and that's really exciting because we're in very different geographic regions, and we are very different in our size. So, and I'm, by the way, really happy to be here with all of you, so thanks to the participants.
I want to start off just real quickly saying what I'm going to talk about in this short presentation, and I'll talk about New Seasons, just to give you an idea of who we are, and what our system is in place right now, and how we actually set it up, how we got started. How we know that it worked, and what we learned from it. And then what we see the impacts from the efforts that we've done.
So New Seasons Market is located in the Portland Metro Region in Oregon. We are locally owned and operated since 1999. We now have 12 stores, 2,200 staff. And we were started by three families, so we are still locally owned and operated. We see ourselves, and it is our motto, to be a friendly neighborhood grocery store, so that we represent our communities and serve those communities.
And the practices that really, the values that were started with the Company still carry through, and it's really the foundation from where we've then built a lot of our business practices from around sustainability.
I'm going to touch on just a few pieces of our business model, just to highlight a couple of things. One is that New Seasons Market is a regional food and farm partner. And we really – that is the crux in a lot of ways of who we are. So we're not just trying to maintain farms, farmers, vendors, the food shed. We're actually actively helping it to grow and that's part of our partnership.
A third of our products are from the local homegrown region. We also are a strong community partner. We give 10% of our after-tax profits back to the community, and that focuses primarily on hunger relief. We also have very progressive health benefits. We're really proud of this. We extend health benefits to not just our staff, but also to partners and children, and it doesn't matter whether somebody is legally married or what sexual orientation, those benefits extend very generously. And we also start on minimum wage at $10 an hour.
So I want to talk about our system and focus on food waste recovery. So we started composting produce in 2003. At the time there really wasn't an infrastructure in place. The city and county programs that exist now for commercial compost did not exist then. And there really wasn't – there weren't really many options around getting compost, waste hauled or actually getting it processed.
So we had to work kind of hard and be a bit assertive about actually putting this in place, even in 2003. And so our focus at that time was produce, and we did that for several years. And then in 2007 we started Green Teams, and by the end of the year in a nine-month period had Green Teams set-up in each store. And the cool thing about that is the first Green Team was actually staff initiated, so this wasn't some top, down idea. One of our stores had a particularly passionate person and a group of people who said we can do a better job than we're doing. They assembled themselves, and they had – they were right, we were able to do a better job than we were doing in 2007.
By the way, I want to just point out in this picture, I chose a picture that's not the most fancy set-up for us because I want to show that really it can be quite simple and can be pretty low cost to set-up recycling compost, you know, garbage. And these are just Rubbermaid containers, it's back of the house area, back in the stocking area. And one of the key things there is we've created our own signage, that was one of the things that I did right early on in 2007 was create all of our own signs, posters, information, reference guides. And that was pretty key. But other than that working with our Graphic Design Department, this is actually pretty simple stuff, using a color coded system and just creating something that's very clear and simple.
So Kasey touched on this, as well. The components of our program are very similar, so and this is also what the EPA is sharing with all of us. First, we really try to prevent food waste, and that is the key focus. And what we cannot prevent we work on reducing. And after that donation, diversion from a landfill. And then I put education here because the education piece is really throughout this entire process, but I also see education sort of looping back to prevention. So one of the keys for prevention of food waste, so really a key part of food recovery, is education.
So food waste prevention and reduction, a couple of key areas for us in this is, first of all, that we have local direct distribution. The size that we're at does not require right now a warehouse, and as we grow we have to look at that differently but for now that local distribution, direct distribution allows us to have fresher food, less waste, and really good shrink management. We also have really strong relationships with our local vendors and farmers. We're lucky, too, to be located in Oregon and have such a rich, rich land, rich resources here.
But we actually, we have events, too, where we're really creating these relationships. For example, we have a vendor fair every year. We have farmers, growers, and vendors in our stores. They will sometimes do a tasting, talk about their product. We've even had them behind the counter and serving food to our customers and working alongside our staff, and it really builds these relationships. We visit farms, and we've even stayed weekends and spent the night, and actually helped to in one case build a hoop structure for a hog grower of ours. So we really feel that that relationship is important and we foster it.
We also have two fulltime local buyers, a local produce buyer and a local grocery buyer. And, for example, with the grocery buyer, who works specifically with local vendors, he actually will reach out to people who maybe have never brought a product to
We also have cross-department support, meaning that departments will share product, and that helps us to control the waste and shrink. We also will run features together. We'll do sampling together. So maybe the Demo Department is offering samples to our customers of a feature that's in the deli or the meat department.
I'm not going to mention all of the things on the list here, on the bullet point list, but in terms of what you should be focusing on in terms of pre-event planning, there are a few key areas. We highly recommend and we've seen the greatest success when an event organization recruits or names a chief, well, not a chief, but a green champion within the organization. Somebody on the inside who is going to take responsibility, who is passionate about sustainability, about implementing these programs.
And, lastly, we have some value-added programs –
Christine Beling: Hey, Heather, can I interrupt one second?
Heather Schmidt: Sure.
Heather Schmidt: Oh
Christine Beling: Can you define shrink a little bit better for us?
Heather Schmidt: Loss, loss would be another way to say it. So, and you could say also waste. But shrink, when we say shrink we mean what is wasted, so from the perspective of a resource that's wasted, but I think in the industry people most likely mean what we're losing in cost. Because, for example, it's not sellable because it's shrink. So another way to say it would be loss. Thanks for asking that.
So the value-added program that I wanted to mention with bone, so we do render but animal bones that can be used by our customers we will actually package them and put them in the frozen food section and sell them. And so we've got another use out of that instead of it going to the rendering.
Food waste donation, each of our 12 stores has two to four Food Bank approved partnerships. And so depending on the store volume it may be – and also the product, it might be – there's a couple of stores where there's certain product that is picked up twice a week, there's certain stores where it might be actually a pick-up on a regular basis.
We also donate food and product to our staff, and we really – it's kind of on the same level for us, the donations to staff and the donations to Food Bank partnerships. We actually put a program in place called the Blue Slip Program, so that staff can take home food and products, using a slip that says I've been given this loaf of bread, and it works really, really well for us.
And we also have developed what I call informal community partnerships, and so that's everything from giving extra bread to a pig farmer, for example, a lot of Food Bank partners, they get too much bread, and so sometimes we'll actually have more bread than the Food Bank wants and we have some farmer relationships. But we also have just community members, a gardener, for example, that might want some coffee grounds or some food bits for their composting at home. So we will also kind of do this informal giving. And in 2010 we donated an estimated 1,040 tons of edible food.
So our food waste diversion, the program that we've got in place right now is that there is an infrastructure throughout the store, so this is in every single department area and currently, also, back of the house and customer side, we have an opportunity to compost waste. We also collect our deli grease, which goes to a company that turns that into biodiesel, fats, oil, and grease program, and meat rendering.
And in the first year, so in 2007, while in the process of actually getting this all set-up comprehensively, so really rolling it out in every department in every store, we had an increase of our compost diversion by 41% in that first year.
So how did we do it? One of the key pieces to the success are our Green Teams. We have a Green Team in every store, and they really serve, they serve a lot of different things, but they – one of the super basic thing is they serve as a liaison between departments and the stores and the department and stores and myself. So it's also a way for me to understand what's going on in the stores, what they need, and to create that collaboration.
They are -- in terms of the set-up of the Green Team, there's one person on the committee for each department, so there's up to 15 members on a Green Team. They meet monthly. It's actually mandatory that each store have a Green Team. They would want to do it anyway, but the point is is that we've incorporated it into how we do business. And they're paid for their time.
They are leaders throughout the store. They serve as educators for staff. Also, sometimes for our community, they might do tours or just talk to customers that have questions. They also are actively building community relationships. We're on our third year now of doing community service projects. The Green Teams choose what project they want to do, and it tends to be hands-on, like a stream cleanup or something like that, and they get paid for their time.
And the Green Teams are also key with anything else that gets rolled out around our sustainable business practices. And so those first ones were in 2007, so we're working on five years of having Green Teams, and so it's really there's a momentum there and they're really key to that.
And I mentioned this earlier, I used what I call a phased approach for creating this comprehensive compost program. I just I knew that we couldn't do everything all at once and be successful. And I wanted to take the time that it needed to roll it out step by step, and really help it to work and to be something that we could maintain.
And so I looked at where the most waste was being generated, so the focus was on the departments with the most impact, the most so food waste to capture, which – and you're looking at this picture, this is in one of our delis. So deli and meat departments, produce, as well, but were key departments for high impact.
The other piece was to focus on our waste first, so rather than getting caught up in what might be generated by customers while they're onsite eating in our seating areas, for example, I wanted to focus on our sort of the back of the house first. I wanted it to be like when a customer comes in and they're asking where the potato chips are, and our staff, anybody in that store can take them to those potato chips with confidence. I wanted the same thing when we started introducing our customers to our compost system. I wanted our staff to feel comfortable enough to say here's how you do it, and let me help you. And so focusing on ours first really helped to later translate that into how we can work with our customers.
And so getting the infrastructure in place was the key. It turned out that everybody really wanted to do this, they just needed the tools in place. And so then I added other departments later, added the customer side later, and very early on developed materials and training to help roll this out.
And in terms of cost savings, it's not always true that just because you transfer food waste from a landfill to compost you don't necessarily save money just from transferring the waste from garbage to compost. And sometimes it can actually, depending on hauling fees and stuff it could actually cost more. But we have had cost savings now continuously. And what you're looking at here is 2006 to 2010 we've had – we've opened new stores, we've also had just revenue increase, so Company sales have actually increased, for example, at our existing stores.
So we had Company sales increased by 55%. And even though you can see, of course, garbage expenses went down and composting expenses went way up, over 100%, when you actually combine the garbage and the compost expenses together the combined expense is actually basically the revenue grew twice that of the waste expense. So this is very good.
And the way that happened was, again, not just because we took waste out of the landfill and put it into the compost, it was a combination of a couple things. One was that I did an annual waste audit going back to 2006. I do this now every year, and it is one of the single most important things I've done in terms of waste management because it helps us to manage costs. So I was able to see where we were spending money and ask important questions, ask the right questions, and basically lower our hauling costs and manage the waste better, and also get more on the commodities, higher commodity rate and tighten operations in general. So those were the key areas for actually creating those cost savings.
Christine Beling: Heather, one other comment, can you talk a little bit louder, you're going in and out?
Heather Schmidt: Oh, okay, yes. Thank you. So what you're looking at here is a cost per store, and I'm not going to spend too much time on this. I want to point out that we leveled off in 2008, garbage and compost expenses pretty similar, and that was really the result of rolling out the comprehensive program in 2007. But, again, we in 2010 were just a little bit higher than what we were in 2006 for total waste costs, and so again we've created quite a bit of savings.
Okay, so still talking about our, you know, how we know it worked. The big piece of this is that we really engaged staff, and they wanted this, and they're excited by it. And, frankly, we all keep each other honest and keep moving forward because it is an expectation that we all have now of our Company and of each other. So I've really found that we are – it's creating this buzz, this excitement, and again the envelope is being pushed. And I get pushed, and it's a good thing. Last year we surveyed our staff, and they ranked their highest area of personal satisfaction as being the sustainability core of our Company. And we've been recognized for sustainability, not just for our food waste recovery but also for recycling and our efforts as a whole.
Okay, I'm going to buzz through this, what we learned, share some best practices. The big piece of this is that we learned to see waste as worth, so literally shifting the perspective that waste is actually resources and see the value in those resources, this is good business, it's good business sense. And, frankly, it serves the community. And as a Company, as a grocery store, that is really that's what we're all about is serving the community.
And so the other piece of it is how can we serve our community in terms of our environmental responsibility. So from a practical standpoint we are a grocery store, we generate waste, waste passes through our stores, you know, through freight and packaging and lots of other things. So we want to do the most positively impactful thing we can with that waste. It's not just a responsibility, it's a service to our community and our customers. And it impacts upstream and downstream.
So we learned to be practical, adapt, don't try to be perfect. We can't rescue everything out of a landfill at this point, it's not going to happen, so what we're going to do is focus on the biggest impact, do our best and continue to improve.
I have here avoid the police state, and what I mean by that is I try to encourage the Green Teams to lead with some neutrality. So let's make this a value system but not necessarily a political issue. We don't, you know, want to get into the rights and wrongs of doing this, it's just one of our Company values.
Some of the important elements is I can't stress enough, cohesion and consistency, and also having a point person. In this case we have a point person in each store, sometimes you could see it as a group but also the Green Team shares. My position as a Sustainability Manager, all of us working together to create a system where people can participate, and we can find success.
And what are the impacts, and this is kind of a – we'll wrap-up all the different elements. The impacts really are global, local, and individual. Prevention of pollution and creating rich soil, turning, again, something from waste into worth. It is customer service, it serves our communities. A big part of this is it gives people an opportunity to participate in change and in positive change. And that has its own personal rewards, as well as rewarding us as people who work together in this particular field in terms of retention and morale and can, and in our case it did also create cost savings. So these are some of the impacts of the food waste recovery.
And this last slide here are just some pictures. Top left is a compost giveaway, we partnered with one of our haulers and gave away free compost to customers, and they loved it. It was a lot of fun. And there's a picture in one of our produce departments. Bottom left is a wheat farmer. We've got a, you know, we had a group of staff that visited. And then the other picture is one of our Green Teams performing community service, and they did a cleanup and found a whole lot of stuff there, plant pots and tires and what-not.
So thank you so much for listening, and if we have time I'd love to take questions.
Christine Beling: Yes, Heather, thank you so much for your presentation. And, yes, we do have time. And I think what I'd like to do on the questions, I have a lot of questions that overlap some of the stuff that Kasey presented, and I'll get back to those, but a lot of questions that came in on your waste versus worth paradigm. And questions on your Green Team. How much time does your Green Team take? What about donating food to the staff, that sounds a bit funky? Can you talk a little bit about the Green Team?
Heather Schmidt: Okay, so I guess I'll take the Green Team first. The Green Teams, they actually, they have to meet for a minimum of 30 minutes every month. They usually meet for an hour. And I try to keep oversight pretty loose because I really – those groups, they know what's going on, and they really want to be empowered to be leaders. And I agree, I think that's really important. And there's a lot of – what happens is they're teaching me about a lot of things.
So I don't provide agendas for them. They really drive that. There is an overall sort of understanding about what the goals of the Green Teams are, and so there's a lot of waste management that happens, there's a lot of education, and even just being an inspiring individual within a store. I mean our stores might have 200 people. It's fast paced, it's complex, there's a lot of waste. We have 17 different categories of recycling, and that doesn't include compost. So it can be pretty complex. And so the Green Teams are quite key to – in all of those areas.
So, again, generally an hour every month for a meeting and there can be sometimes special projects that happen, and one of them is the community service project that happens annually.
Christine, you asked a couple, there were a couple of other questions – you asked something about the waste to worth?
Christine Beling: Well, we had a lot of questions on how – what percentages do you donate versus animal feed versus compost, that's one question? And delving into the donation a little bit more, how do you decide where the donation goes?
Heather Schmidt: Well, so again we really do follow the hierarchy that Kasey touched on and the EPA has on their website. So, again, we have two to four Food Bank partnerships for each store. And we also donate to staff. So I have an overall number that I shared earlier in the presentation, but I don't have numbers for how much is given to staff versus how much is given to each Food Bank partner. And, you know, at each store, too, it's going to vary. Some stores have more that they're donating, and some stores have less. And we have no way of tracking that other than putting a scale in the break room and sort of measuring piece by piece what we gave out. We're not that concerned with controlling it in that way.
Really what we want to do is we want to keep it pretty simple. So let's be as lean as possible, let's control our loss, it's the right thing for the environment, it's the right thing for our bottom line. And what we can't control there we're going to give away. And, frankly, we just want to give it away, so we're going to, again, not have tight controls on that. We don't want it to be wasted, and we've got the industrial uses that I talked about. And then from there it's going into the compost stream.
And so that's, again, the Blue Slip Program, gosh, we've had it in place I don't know, maybe since the Company began. It's been a long time. And it's quite an easy system.
Christine Beling: Great. I have a bunch of questions on compost, itself. And this also came up in Kasey's presentation in terms of the quality and training of the materials that go for disposal, and could you speak a little bit to that?
Heather Schmidt: Christine, let me make sure I got it correctly – the question was regarding the quality of the food that we are donating, is that correct?
Christine Beling: No, no, no, the quality of the – I think it's – funny, quality, how you talk about quality – i.e., you're putting food waste into a compost bin, but contamination, that type of quality? So do you have plastic contamination?
Heather Schmidt: Oh, I see, okay. We actually have pretty clean collection. We don't have a lot of contamination in our compost, at all. It's – and it's been consistent that way. I do – that's where the system is actually quite controlled. I use a color coded system on the end of the structure, so all compost cans are green. I've gotten most of our haulers to actually paint the compost for yards or whatever green. Some it's a little more difficult with, but I want it color coded within the store and outside of the store.
There's training, you know, I did a training video, for example, and then I do follow-up trainings. I do walkthroughs at the stores, so that I walk-through and I see how things are going, and talk to people, and I look in the – I look in pretty much every single receptacle and I look outside, and I sort of see how it's going. And then I talk to our partners, so I talk to the haulers and I ask them how it's going? And what I hear back consistently through the years is that it's a very clean stream.
Christine Beling: Great. And that is a key, obviously, again, depending on what your hauler is and who your vendor is. One other question, being from the East Coast I have a couple of questions on can you talk to the difference between disposal, hauling and disposal for composting and hauling and disposal for trash? And is there any incineration out in Oregon, as well?
Heather Schmidt: Okay, so again you – I didn't quite catch it. The difference between garbage disposal and compost disposal?
Christine Beling: The costs associated with those?
Heather Schmidt: The cost, the cost – well, you know what? That actually is quite dependent on the store and where the store is located. So even though we're in the Portland Metro Region I actually deal with seven different haulers because some of our regions are franchised, some of them are not. And there could be one store, for example, that has a garbage hauler different from the compost hauler, different from the recycling hauler. And then I have each one of our stores set-up on a New Seasons Market only recycling program where I make agreements with a hauler to take certain things to a processor outside of the City, County program. So it would be too much to even try to break-down right now on this presentation because I'd have to look at actually each store, garbage versus compost for the cost.
Christine Beling: Can you make a generalization that composting is a bit less than trash disposal? That's certainly true on the East Coast.
Heather Schmidt: I would – yes, I would say primarily that is the case for us.
Christine Beling: Great. Also, okay, sorry I lost my train of thought, everybody – we are getting a lot of questions again about your employees. I think the smiling face resonated with people. Do you specifically hire folks, and is that part of the questionnaire, kind of are you green, are you sustainable, is that part of the hiring process?
Heather Schmidt: Well, we definitely, we hire a lot based on I guess sort of cultural fit. We're not as concerned about past job experience and particular college degrees and things like that. We are definitely more about the person, the cultural fit. We do make it clear by our interactions in the hiring process, may touch on some level of sustainability, but to the same degree that, for example, we might talk to somebody about community or the sort of community giving that we do. So we really do see these as all just components of our Company, and but just to take that a little bit further, we also do evaluate sustainable practices on staff reviews. So it is part of our review process, and part of our sort of core values that are shared throughout the employee's time.
Christine Beling: Great. that's interesting. Kasey, if you're still there unmute yourself because I have the last five minutes, I have a question I think is relevant for both of you. Is how do you use your food donation and your diversion programs or do you use these activities in marketing campaigns or other outreach to your consumers?
Heather, do you want to go first?
Heather Schmidt: Sure. We do some, I mean we have some things up on our website about our program. But, again, I would say that we focus more on our farmer relationships, which is a component of sustainability. We would say that that's much more of a focus than particular practices, such as food recovery. We do some Facebook messaging or tweeting or something like that, and I'll work with Marketing, for example, in August we put on a bike fair and of course I wanted to market this bike fair because it was really exciting and lots of partnerships happened. And so Marketing helped to get the word out on that particular bike fair. So I would say it's around sort of more – there's an event focus maybe.
Christine Beling: Kasey, do you have anything to share?
Kasey Harris: We don't do a lot with marketing our food donations. There's always the handing over of the big checks and things like that. But a couple of programs that we're doing, it's pretty timely right now, are a little bit more customer facing where we do a Fund of Feast, where I think you spend $10 on a meal and Hannaford matches that and donates that to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. So we do in conjunction with the community relations we do some programs where we highlight our commitment to hunger relief, so we don't talk as much about what we donate from the store but we do have some really cool programs in the store, the Fund of Feast, one. We also do things where we're donating to help schools and things like that, so it's a little bit more into the community relations side. And I had one other example, but it escapes me.
Christine Beling: No worries. And, actually, living in a Hannaford community you often donate cookies to our school, so thank you, on a personal level. And I also have another colleague of mine who wrote a message to Heather, that said, Heather, I have two friends who work for you and just rave about New Seasons and everything your Company stands for. Just wanted to say thank you.
Heather Schmidt: Thank you.
Christine Beling: So another personal note to New Seasons.
So, with that, I think we're just about at the end of the webinar. You can see the link to where the presentations are. We wish to thank Michael and Kasey and Heather for taking their time and schedules to share their ideas and information with us. Most of all, we'd like to thank you, the participants. I think this is maybe our highest participants ever in a webinar, so the idea must be timely.
Make sure to please complete your survey and give us back some feedback. We'd love to hear you. We'd also love to see you at the Food Recovery Challenge website. And please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or any of our speakers.
The next SMM Web Academy will be a similar topic, the Food Recovery Challenge, with our University sector partners. Please sign-up, Thursday, January 19th, 2012, in the new year. And that starts, again, at one p.m. Eastern Time.
This concludes today's session. Thank you very much, and happy holidays to all.