Focus on food waste


Focus on food waste

Tray of roast vegetables

A report by Mintel titled ‘Global Food and Drink Trends 2017’ has zeroed in on the issue of food waste – highlighting the fact that a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of the food produced for global consumption is lost or wasted every year. Furthermore, the government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee estimates that around £10bn worth of food – vegetables in particular – is thrown away every year because it is the wrong shape.

As well as the environmental impact, food waste carries a high cost for the hospitality sector and is a serious issue facing pubs. The charity WRAP estimates that the cost of food waste for the average pub is £8,000 per year, equating to around £0.41 in avoidable waste per meal.

Guests, as well as operators, are becoming increasingly attuned to the implications of food waste, something that is reflected in their buying habits. Mintel’s report, for example, found that 51% of adults are open to purchasing imperfect vegetables. Additionally, our survey revealed that guests are shunning food with high air mileage. 59% of guests saying they would be more likely to visit a restaurant that served seasonal ingredients and 73% saying they’d be more likely to visit a restaurant with locally sourced ingredients.

Pubs, restaurants and food retailers need to be aware of these changing attitudes, which will make guests more aware of the issue of food waste when dining out. Guests conscious of food waste will drive operational changes in the hospitality industry. A conscious effort to reduce waste and an openness about what happens to leftovers is something many guests will want to see. WRAP’s recommendations include better staff training and redistributing excess food to charities and food banks – an initiative that has proved popular in supermarkets. Evidence of efforts to reduce waste could improve guest loyalty, NPS scores & will certainly have a positive impact on your bottom line.

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