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New Program Saves 15,000 Pounds of Food Per Month; MU Goes Trayless

National trend also saves 100,000 gallons of water, costs for students

April 25th, 2013

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

By Jerett Rion

VIDEO: New MU Trayless Dining Program Saves 15,000 Pounds of Food Per Month

This video is available for broadcast quality download and re-use. For more information, contact Nathan Hurst:

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The average American discards approximately 20 pounds of food each month, which amounts to $2, 275 a year for a family of four. This recent trend in America doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon and continues to be a problem in today’s society. However, the University of Missouri Campus Dining Services (CDS) has implemented a new system in their residential dining locations, which has reduced food waste on campus by more than 15,000 pounds per month.

“This new program, in which we have eliminated trays from our residential dining locations, was spearheaded by our student leaders with the goal of reducing food waste,” said Juliane Kiehn, director of CDS. “We are now in our second year of trayless dining, and continue to see significant reductions in food waste, and savings in food and utility costs.”

Before trayless dining, some students loaded their trays with more food than they could consume, which resulted in a significant amount of food waste at every meal. The year before CDS went trayless, more than 664,000 pounds of food or approximately 55,000 pounds a month was discarded. After CDS stopped providing trays in August 2011, food waste dropped by approximately 6,000 pounds per month. Now, in their second full year of trayless dining, food waste has been reduced by an additional 9,000 pounds per month.

“While we are conserving food, the trayless dining system also is saving money for the students,” Kiehn said. “Because we are buying less food, our food costs are staying steady even though food prices have risen dramatically. Therefore, we can minimize the increase in the cost of dining plans, which ultimately benefits students.”

In addition to conserving food, CDS also is conserving energy with their trayless dining system.

“When we had trays in our dining system, we were using a considerable amount of water and dish detergent to wash them,” said Michael Wuest, marketing manager for CDS. “Now that we have gone trayless, we are saving around 100,000 gallons of fresh water every year because we are washing less trays and dishes.”

With trayless dining, CDS also is helping to prevent overeating among college students. Without trays available to them in the residential dining locations, students take only one or two plates at a time. This allows them to more carefully consider whether or not they need to eat more; many students realize that they only need one or two plates of food to achieve satisfaction.

Additionally, to help students be conscientious consumers and be more health conscious about their food choices, CDS launched an online program called Zoutrition.

“Zoutrition allows students to view the nutritional facts that our food at the residential dining locations serves on any given day and allows them to track what they have eaten in a particular day,” Wuest said. “The thing that makes Zoutrition so easy and compatible is that we have two different ways to access it, through the web and through the GoMizzou app available on smartphones.”

The Zoutrition website can be accessed at or through the GoMizzou app, which can be downloaded in the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For additional information about trayless dining at Mizzou, please visit:

For additional information about the Zoutrition program, please visit: