In 2011, The Composition of Waste Disposed by the Hospitality Industry report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that only 48% of food waste was recycled by the sector, with the remainder thrown away – mainly into landfill. Fast forward to 2023, and what has changed?

Since the damning report in 2011, large-scale interventions have been aimed at reducing food waste across both supply chains and households. Government initiatives and voluntary agreements have supported this effort, primarily led by the Courtauld Commitment 2025, an agreement which targets the reduction of food waste, water and greenhouse gas emissions. The first Courtauld Commitment was launched in 2005 and it has since proven to be a long-lasting vehicle for change.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 targeted the period 2015-2018, achieving a 27% reduction in food waste across all industries since 2007. The agreement has been updated (now The Courtauld Commitment 2030), however the remit has not changed – it is still targeting a 50% reduction of food waste by 2030, against the 2007 baseline.

Despite the agreement, the hospitality sector has struggled to make significant headway, in fact WRAP reported the sector to not only increase the amount of waste produced during 2015-2018, but it was also the worst offender in terms of performance.

Food waste costs the UK hospitality and food service sector approximately £3.2billion each year1. Research by WRAP across 1,200 business sites in 17 countries found that on average, for every £1 invested on curbing food loss and waste, they saved over £10. At a time when the sector is maligned by rising energy prices and inflation – it seems counter-intuitive not to take action. The recent Country Range reader survey is reporting progress, with 64% of readers having invested in reducing food waste over the past 12 months, but is this enough to move the needle?

Each step of the plan is fully supported by WRAP and their partners, including Guardians of Grub – a united collective dedicated to the hospitality and food service sector to support the cause. Their free tracking tools, saving calculators and learning materials are available online at for anyone interested in rising up against food waste.

It takes a lot of time, energy and resources to produce the food we eat, so let’s do all we can and freeze to preserve what we don’t use, wrap up what our consumers don’t eat and never buy more than we need. With small changes, we can take great strides in reducing the million tonnes of food that our sector is responsible for throwing away every year.