Top tips to reduce food waste in your food business

by Bold Apps

'Did you know? 1/3 of all food produced is WASTED before it gets to the plate' - Too Good To Go

Food waste occurs throughout the production and sale of food with the biggest waste occurring at the point of consumption. The environmental impacts of food waste are significant:

  • 28% of the world’s agriculture is being used to grow food that is never eaten (FAO)
  • According to the UN, if food waste was a country it has the third-highest carbon footprint after America and China (Scientific American)
  • If food waste goes to landfill it releases methane, which is 25 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. 
  • It is estimated that in the UK, the hospitality sector wasted £3 billion of food in 2016, with 0.92 million tonnes of food and 1.3 million tonnes of packaging being binned (WRAP UK).

Thankfully, the seriousness of this issue is being addressed by New EU targets, which the UK Government should agree to. There is a target for a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030

So how can your business take action to reduce food waste? Here's some handy tips. 

1. Start monitoring your food waste

In order to reduce your food waste, which is at the top of the waste hierarchy, start monitoring and recording food waste in a spreadsheet or using an app (manual recording won’t provide trends unless it is typed up). Then you can see trends and volumes and look for ways to reduce. For example, iZettle offers food waste monitoring software as part of their plans.  Monitor overproduction, spoilage, plate waste and out-of-date ingredients separately.

2. Discuss why food waste is occurring

  • Talk to staff about how and why food production or wastage is occurring.
  • Offer staff training in stock management and veg preparation techniques.
  • Talk to customers about plate waste to identify if portions are too big.

3. Sign up to a food waste diversion programme

There is often unavoidable food waste in a food business but this can be re-sold or given away through these food redirection projects:

Food waste diversion options

  • Community Fridges - see if there are any in your local area to drop off to. 
  • Too Good To Go App - put magic bags of food for people to buy at a reduced cost 
  • Olio - post the items for people to come and collect 

 4. Repurpose food that would otherwise be wasted

Stale pastries and bread to vegetable peelings can all be reused for other recipes and kept out of the bin.

Here are some more ideas using food that would otherwise be wasted:

  • Orange peelings are the basis for marmalade 
  • Reuse pastries, muffins, cake offcuts and buttercream by using them to make cake jars
  • Butternut squash peelings make great crisps

Cake Jar

See how these Halloween Cake Jars were made here.

How to make Crisps from peelings;

  1. Place the reserved butternut peelings in a roasting tray and top with the olive oil, sherry vinegar, chopped rosemary and put in the oven to cook for 20 minutes on a low heat (140C/275F/ Gas) to crisp up.
  2. Remove the crisps from the oven and place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

Recipe from BBC Food

 "Reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reverse global warming." - CHAD FRISCHMANN, CLIMATE CHANGE EXPERT

For more details on how the hospitality industry can and is tackling food waste check out this guide compiled by Livvy Drake of the Sustainable Sidekicks for Bristol's Going for Gold Campaign.

The Sustainable Sidekicks provide support and training courses for businesses and green champions looking to tackle their environmental impacts particularly focusing on waste reduction and behaviour change. 

This was a guest blog from Livvy at Sustainable Sidekicks. 

Check out their online course on tackling plastics in the workplace  

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Livvy from Sustainable Sidekicks