Hospitality Sector Unites to Tackle Food Waste This Month

Food waste is off the menu this September, as the UK’s hospitality and food service sector unites to tackle the one million tonnes of food waste arising from commercial kitchens, restaurants, pubs and wherever food is served to order; worth nearly £3 billion per annum.

A dedicated month of action, Stand Up For Food, is underway spearheaded by the resource efficiency agency WRAP as part of its Guardians of Grub campaign. It is supported by the Government’s Food Surplus & Waste Champion Ben Elliot, well-known chefs including Hugh Fearnley-WhittingstallSkye GyngellAdam HandlingMelissa HemsleyKen HomAnna Jones and Thomasina Miers and major businesses and trade bodies.

During September, the UK’s busiest bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, quick service outlets, cafes and catering companies will make sure they Target, Measure and Act on food waste. From street food to Michelin star, the Guardians of Grub’s influence stretches the length and breadth of Britain encompassing every division of the businesses involved. From kitchen staff to management, all will ensure food waste prevention is front of mind and that they measure and minimise food wastage in their own operations.

Food Surplus and Waste Champion, Ben Elliot“It’s truly time to Stand Up For Food – food need not be wasted. This brilliant month of action, led by WRAP, empowers every food business, ensuring that food waste is taken off the menu. To the gallant Guardians, I recommend the brilliant resources provided by WRAP, created to help tackle this very important issue.”

Adam Handling, Chef Owner of Adam Handling Restaurant Group, “I’m thrilled to be supporting the #StandUpForFood Campaign as one of its Guardians of Grub ambassadors. Reducing waste in the industry is something I’ve always cared passionately about, and it underpins every one of my restaurants. Everyone in the group shares a passion for minimising waste, and our staff training programmes make sure that every member of the team is trained in sustainable practices. That’s why it’s so important campaigns like this exist so we can help transform the way this industry operates. It’s staggering to think that over one million tonnes of food is thrown away each year by the hospitality and food sectors, the majority of which can be eaten if we just use a little imagination! At my restaurants, we’re always looking for ways to prevent food waste; for example, we have our own food lab installed where we love to ferment and pickle ingredients like tomatoes or cabbage, so that they can be used all-year round as opposed to being needlessly thrown away when they go out of season or over-ripen.”

Peter Maddox, Director WRAP said “Food waste usually goes unnoticed in relation to climate change, but the reality is that we won’t stop temperatures rising if we fail to address the problems within the food system. We see no place for food waste on any UK menu, and I’m confident Stand Up For Food will be a great success, and an important moment in the war on food waste. This is the largest, most inclusive campaign we’ve ever undertaken with the hospitality and food service sector and key has been recruiting the Guardians to make this happen in their own businesses, and arming those people with the right resources to help. And while we focus attention on one industry in September, it’s a moment too when we can all think about how we all contribute to food waste, and what we can do to limit that – it’s food for thought.”

During Stand Up For Food month, kitchens and staff will use a range of free resources produced by WRAP that share best practice on reducing food waste. These include guidance and resources to help measure and review food thrown away. The priority for September is food waste measuring, after which it will be easy for businesses to pinpoint where and why food waste occurs in their operations, and work out how to stop good food ending up in the bin. At its heart, the campaign is about helping businesses make simple, low-cost changes to how food is procured, prepared and presented that reduce the amount needlessly thrown away. Case studies outlining the savings made are being published on the Guardians of Grub website*.

While Stand Up For Food month is all about business action, consumers may see subtle changes when they dine out in future as a result. Plate waste, the uneaten food returned to kitchens, currently accounts for nearly one third of all food waste from the sector with commonly wasted items including potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, salads and garnishes. These leftovers can be examined through menu reviews to investigate ways to limit the wastage of these popular dishes**.