According to the latest figures from WRAP, food waste costs the hospitality sector more than £1.5bn a year. However, with plate scrapings accounting for 30% of this waste, Philip Simpson, commercial director atspecialist national food recycling organisation ReFood believes that simple changes – such as better portion control could save pubs, restaurants, hotels and quick service outlets up to £450,000 per annum.
“Food waste from the hospitality sector is significant, around 600,000 tonnes every year to be precise”, comments Philip.
“According to the latest WRAP figures, 400,000 tonnes of this could be avoided if it had been better planned, portioned, managed, stored or prepared. This is backed up by a Sustainable Restaurant Association survey, which found that 65% of food waste came from preparation, including peelings, offcuts and egg shells. Plate scrapings resulted in 30% of waste, while 5% was from spoilage. There are clearly areas for improvement across the industry.
“However, with such significant figures comes a big opportunity. What’s more, embracing a more strategic approach to waste management is both simple and cost-effective. For those operating, in the sector it simply takes a change in mindset to make a real difference.
“Key for the sector to keep waste in mind at every stage of food procurement, portioning, storage, preparation and delivery. The first port of call for those looking to make changes is to review their current procedures and to identify opportunities for waste savings. This not only reduces food waste but can have a significant impact on the bottom line.
“Once opportunities to make waste savings have been identified and acted upon, the next step is reviewing how the remaining food waste can be sustainably disposed of. Again, this is mostly a case of a change in mindset, whereby the industry views leftover food as a valuable resource as opposed to simply waste. At ReFood, by providing a dedicated food waste collection and recycling service, we can help businesses deliver significant cost savings, cutting waste costs by as much as 46%.
“There are huge financial benefits possible by considering waste at every stage of food management and the case for a change in attitude is incredibly strong. With significant improvements possible with just small tweaks to processes, the sector is in a prime position to benefit now, in regards to sustainability and financial reward.”