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Notable Laval dietician tackles the issue of food waste

When I heard that the Pacini restaurant chain had launched a new program to deal with food waste, I was intrigued.

Every year on Earth, people waste 1.3 billion tons of food, which is responsible for releasing 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gases per year. According to FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, this is not only a major economic loss, but also “a serious detriment to the natural resources humanity depends on for nourishment.” In addition, the more food that’s wasted, the bigger the environmental impact.

For these reasons, Pacini is battling food waste in restaurants, encouraging customers to eat according to their actual appetites and taking the leftovers home for another meal. Pacini provides its customers with recyclable bags and boxes, saving them time and money. What’s more, Pacini recycles bread for croutons, preserves its lettuce longer in special packaging, and maximizes the use of each product in recipes to avoid losses. Lastly, in order to reduce the use of plastic and limit its presence in our environment, Pacini has been serving free filtered water in reusable glass bottles for more than 15 years. Inspired by a common practice in restaurants in Italy, Pacini has developed a system of bottling water in all its restaurants.

Food waste in restaurant kitchens, director of marketing and public relations Andréanne Charbonneau told me, is negligible because there are few transformation options. It is table scraps that cause the biggest food loss even though only 10 percent of customers do not finish their meals. Pacini believes that these leftovers should have a second life, rather than end up in the garbage. Over the next few months nutritionist Geneviève Nadeau, Director of Food and Nutrition at Pacini and a native of Laval, will share recipes that can be made with leftovers. Nadeau told me she remembers going to Pacini on Boulevard St. Martin and having the servers sing Happy Birthday and take a photo with a Kodak.

With dietician Nadeau’s influence, Pacini has eliminated all artificial Trans fats from its menus, reducing the salt in recipes by one ton per year, creating gluten-free and allergen-free dishes, and they have introduced EpiPens in all restaurants.

“Pacini doesn’t pretend to be a health restaurant,” says Nadeau. “Whether you are diabetic, hypertensive, allergic to nuts or gluten sensitive, we are committed to continually improving your choices to suit your needs!

“A few people asked me what a dietician is doing at Pacini?” she laughs. “We have a lot of items on the menu for those eating carefully and there are more to come. I am proud of the healthy salads we introduced and we are making efforts in other areas. This is my mission.”

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