Commissary kitchens, also known as shared-use kitchens or commercial kitchens, have become increasingly popular in recent years. Coho Commissary has expanded to 6 commissary kitchens in 3 cities, which are now home to over 100 food and beverage businesses. These kitchens are designed to be shared by multiple food businesses, allowing them to save on costs and operate more efficiently. But did you know that working on a commissary kitchen can also be sustainable for the environment?
April is Earth Month in Canada, so we’ve taken some time to reflect on how our business operations positively impact food sustainability, resourcing, and our environment. In this article, we'll explore how working in a shared commissary kitchen can promote sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of food businesses.
1. Energy Efficiency
Commissary kitchens are designed to be energy-efficient. Equipped with state-of-the-art appliances like induction cook tops that are designed to reduce energy consumption. These cooktops use less energy than traditional gas stoves, and they heat up more quickly, reducing cooking times and saving energy.
Although small stove tops and home appliances run on less energy compared to larger commercial kitchen equipment, food services cook in bulk, which can be more time and energy efficient in the long run. This means that food businesses can save on energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint by working in a commissary kitchen.
2. Reduced Food Waste
Food waste is a significant environmental issue. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year. Commissary kitchens can help reduce food waste in several ways.
Since multiple businesses share the same kitchen, they can share ingredients, which helps reduce over-purchasing and spoilage. Additionally, since commissary kitchens have a larger customer base, food businesses can produce only what they need, reducing waste and saving money.
Commissary kitchens also provide a centralized location for food donation and composting. Food that is still edible but not suitable for sale can be donated to local food banks, while food waste can be composted and used to fertilize local gardens.
3. Sustainable Food Sourcing
Sustainable food sourcing is another critical aspect of promoting environmental sustainability in the food industry. Commissary kitchens can encourage sustainable food sourcing by providing a centralized location for multiple businesses to purchase ingredients.
Since multiple businesses use the same kitchen, they can collectively purchase ingredients from local and sustainable sources. This can help reduce the environmental impact of transportation and support local agriculture.
One of Coho Commissary’s community partners, Ono Vancouver, is an industry leader when it comes to reducing food waste and sourcing ingredients sustainably. Through the Vancouver Food Runners, Ono receives weekly deliveries of surplus food stock from hotels, restaurants, and grocers across Vancouver. They then transform these bulk ingredients into over 6,000 nutritious meals for the Vancouver Food Runners to re-distribute across local non-profit organizations and schools.
4. Waste Reduction
Commissary kitchens also have the infrastructure to reduce waste. Coho Commissary has a system in place for recycling, composting, and proper disposal of hazardous materials. This can help reduce the environmental impact of waste and help food businesses operate in a more sustainable manner.
For example, commissary kitchens may have a designated area for sorting and recycling materials such as plastic, paper, and metal. They may also have a composting system in place to turn food waste into nutrient-rich soil.
5. Sharing Resources
Finally, commissary kitchens promote resource sharing. Since multiple businesses share the same kitchen, they also have the advantage of access to common equipment, supplies, and knowledge. This can help reduce costs and reduce the environmental impact of over-consumption.
Food businesses often require a piece of equipment for no more than 12 hours per day. This makes a perfect scenario for renting it from the commissary instead of buying it for occasional usage. At the end of the day, our equipment is being used to its maximum potential, and member businesses do not need to to invest in the same equipment, reducing waste and saving money.
In conclusion, commissary kitchens can be a more sustainable solution for food businesses and the environment. By promoting energy efficiency, reducing food waste, encouraging sustainable food sourcing, and promoting resource sharing, commissary kitchens can provide the space for a collective of businesses to actively reduce the environmental impact of the food industry. If you're a food business owner looking to operate in a more sustainable manner, consider renting space in Coho commissary. Not only can you save money, but you can also help promote environmental sustainability.