If your business is not already tackling food waste in one way or another – now is the time! The Considerate team have recently attended two events aimed at reducing food waste in the hospitality, retail and food service sectors -and here are our key ‘takeways’.
Why food waste?
Did you know that if global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the USA and China? We don’t always make the connection between this waste and climate change – but think of the amount of energy that has gone in to putting that food in to our fridges or on our plates. The water involved in producing the food, the road / air miles necessary to transport it, the energy used to refrigerate it. When we then throw that food away we waste not only the food – but the resources used to put it in front of us.
Step up to the Plate
In May we attended the ‘Step up to the Plate’ event organised by DEFRA and the government’s new Food Surplus and Waste Champion, Ben Elliot. This event, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, brought together a number of food businesses for an afternoon of discussions around the subject of food waste. Beginning with a celebrity cook-off showing what good use could be made of what we traditionally would ‘waste’, the event then featured panel debates on the subject involving large businesses, and how we all have a role to play in reducing waste at all levels of production and retail – and not pass the waste on from one player to another.
There was also much discussion of redistributing food that would not be used – highlighting the great work of the Felix Project who take unsold supermarket food to charities who can make use of it.
Step up and Stop Food Waste
Last week we also attended a workshop for hospitality businesses, organised by WRAP & Trifocal. It was great to hear a lively discussion of ideas and best practice.
We were also pleased to hear our Considerate supplier Winnow mentioned in the case study of The Roebuck – a London pub who started their food waste reduction journey using Winnow technology. A four-week programme of monitoring their food waste produced forecasted savings of £2,324 – preventing the wastage of 1.8 tonnes of food and 3 tonnes of associated packaging annually. From this baseline the importance of reducing food waste and the subject of sustainability in general have become integrated in to the actions of the team.
WRAP have developed a ‘Your Business is Food’ toolkit, providing a number of resources you can download from their website to get you started. They have also recently launched their Guardians of Grub campaign with to help to further raise awareness and engage teams.
A really key point mentioned in both events was the fact that 70% of food waste in the UK actually comes from individual households, rather than businesses. However, we are all individuals, employees, consumers – so changing our habits & mindset at work can only help us to improve our habits at home!
If we can offer any additional support on tackling food waste in your business, please do get in touch as we host specialised workshops and have a toolkit to assist you with further tips!