Food waste has moved up the sustainable food agenda in recent years with growing pressure on caterers to improve their practices.

A staggering 20% of all food bought by the UK hospitality sector is wasted – amounting to around £2.5billion of food per year – and caterers have a responsibility to play their part in reducing this.

Food waste produced per year

  • Pubs 173,000 tonnes (19% total food waste)
  • Hotels 79,000 tonnes (9% total food waste)
  • Restaurants 199,00 tonnes  (total food waste)

Other hospitality sectors food waste contributions

  • Quick service restaurants 8.3%
  • Healthcare 13%
  • Education 13%
  • Services 3%
  • Leisure 7%
  • Staff Catering 2%

How can Caterers minimise food waste?

  • Offer different portion sizes to suit different customers’ appetites.
  • Use small batch cooking and cook to order where possible.
  • Offer doggy bags to make it easier for customers to take home their leftovers.
  • Assess your storage methods, check temperatures, use airtight containers, and adopt a ‘first in, first out’ system
  • Look at your food preparation practices – don’t overtrim, and use carcasses, bones and trimmings to prepare stock for sauces or soups.
  • Use surplus food to make new meals. Identify what types of food you waste the most, then come up with ideas for new recipes using the most common leftovers. You could create ‘daily specials’ to achieve this.
  • Order smaller portions of fresh produce, more often, to help you avoid throwing away large quantities of food that’s gone off before you could use it.
  • Label and date new supplies to help you stay on top of which produce needs to be used first.
  • Cut less popular dishes from the menu.
  • Feed your staff with food surplus.
  • Train your staff to care about your kitchen’s food waste.
  • Redistribute surplus food through local charities and social enterprises.

Visit the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s FoodSave website for resources and information to help foodservice professionals.

New for 2019

Environmental issues are high on the global agenda and everyone in foodservice has a role to play

Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ series showed the stark reality of humans’ attitude to waste, and in particular plastic, and the impact it is having on our wildlife. Action is needed now and our 2018 Stir it up Reader Survey highlighted an overwhelming desire from you, our readers, for more information on environmental issues and solutions.

Therefore, new for 2019, is this Green Gauge feature, which aims to focus on a different ‘green’ topic each issue to arm caterers with the knowledge and advice to become more sustainable in their operations. Our launch topic is ‘food waste’, something all businesses are keen to alleviate.

If there are any issues in particular you’d like Green Gauge to cover, please let us know at @Stiritupmag on Twitter or email