February 21, 2019

Gone to the dogs

For the past few months, Sandy Thompson, sous chef at Chartwells, has been turning leftover food into healthy dog treats. While some of the packaged treats are available to purchase at UW-Superior, the majority are donated to the Humane Society of Douglas County, which receives all profits from the sale.

For the past few months, Sandy Thompson, sous chef at Chartwells, has been turning leftover food into healthy dog treats. While some of the packaged treats are available to purchase at UW-Superior, the majority are donated to the Humane Society of Douglas County, which receives all profits from the sale.

Leftover food at UW-Superior is turned into dog treats to benefit the Humane Society of Douglas County

The small treat barely lasts a second before it is gobbled up by Gordon, a 10-year-old hound available for adoption at the Humane Society of Douglas County. Gordon has developed a strong affection for the treats and within seconds, another ping pong ball-sized treat is devoured with a wag of appreciation.

Not your average off-the-shelf dog treats, these K-9 appetizers are the effort of Sandy Thompson, sous chef at Chartwells, the food service company at UW-Superior. For the past few months, Thompson has been turning leftover food into healthy dog treats.

Waste Not Wag A Lot dog treats

“I was already doing the Waste Not management program in the kitchen here,” said Thompson. “That involves keeping track of our food waste, measuring it in quarts, and trying to minimize that as much as possible. For example, the soups – if we’re getting close to the end of the dinner period, to not put out a full pot of soup because then I’ll have to throw it away.”

Through Thompson’s efforts, Chartwells has been focused on reducing food waste at the university.

“You look at the production of food, all of the resources that go into the production and then for it to end up in the landfill – obviously that’s not good,” she said. “You just think about the people in the community, families who don’t have enough food, food insecurity, and if we can do our little part here, and if everybody did their little part, we can make a huge difference. In a food service environment, you’re dealing with huge volume, big numbers, and I don’t want to be throwing away 30 quarts of food every day.”

In an effort to further sustainability at UW-Superior, Thompson discovered a Chartwells program and recipe for dog treats made from cafeteria leftovers.

“I thought this is perfect,” she said. “I’m a dog lover, and I was a pastry chef and recipe developer in a previous life, so this was right up my alley.”

Since November, the Waste Not management program has grown to include Wag A Lot Healthy Dog Treats. The baked, all-natural treats created from food that never made it to the service line include ingredients such as oats, quinoa, squash, carrot and turkey bacon.

“I’ve probably made about a half a dozen batches,” said Thompson. “This is relatively new and I’m just trying to fit it into my schedule. I’d definitely like to keep doing it.”   

While some of the packaged treats are available to purchase at UW-Superior, the majority are donated to the Humane Society of Douglas County, which receives all profits from the sale.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Sheila Keup, director of the Humane Society of Douglas County. “We’re not wasting the food and we’re not spending resources on getting more dog treats, because we do go through a lot of them here.”

In just a few months the treats have become a favorite of dogs and their owners.
“I have one lady that bought a bag at an event we were at,” said Keup. “Her dog is very picky and wouldn’t eat anything else. The dog loves these treats, so she came back and bought like another 10 bags. The dog is just little, only weighs 5 pounds, so it should last him a while.”

A limited quantity of these dog treats are available at the Yellowjacket Union dining hall and at the Humane Society of Douglas County for $4 a bag.

“A big thank you to Chartwells at UWS for doing this,” said Keup.

For the past few months, Sandy Thompson, sous chef at Chartwells, has been turning leftover food into healthy dog treats. While some of the packaged treats are available to purchase at UW-Superior, the majority are donated to the Humane Society of Douglas County, which receives all profits from the sale.

For the past few months, Sandy Thompson, sous chef at Chartwells, has been turning leftover food into healthy dog treats. While some of the packaged treats are available to purchase at UW-Superior, the majority are donated to the Humane Society of Douglas County, which receives all profits from the sale.

See how leftover food at UW-Superior is turned into treats to benefit the Humane Society of Douglas County. View Waste Not Wag A Lot

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