Food waste has rarely been out of the news lately. The debate was kicked off with data showing that somewhere around one half to one-third of all food that is produced globally goes to waste. This figure was supplemented by the shocking fact that the food that is wasted by the USA alone (in homes, retail, manufacture and food production) would be sufficient to satisfy the hunger of the one billion or so malnourished people in the world (www.feeding5k.org/food-waste-facts.php.)
More recently, WRAP have published data focussing on the UK and hospitality and food service sector. According to this research around 1 in 6 of the meals that is produced by the sector goes to waste and 75% of all food in the average hospitality and food service waste bin could have been eaten. And the news doesn’t stop there: the Trussel Trust have recently reported that 1 in 40 families in the UK have insufficient funds to feed themselves and have turned to a food bank for help in 2014.
Businesses in the hospitality and food service sector have a unique relationship with food – it is the lifeblood on which their economic success depends. For most in the sector, however, food is much more than a means to earn a crust. It is something that they feel passionate about and food waste is loathed by most in the sector. Up until now, however it has been an issue that has been hard to address. WRAP have significantly improved this situation with their Hospitality and Food Service Agreement. This provides a consistent framework for the prevention of food waste and now has the support of the vast majority of companies in the sector.
All hospitality companies will inevitably have some food that is of good quality and edible but cannot be used within the business. Much of this waste has traditionally ended up in landfill, costing businesses money, creating methane emissions (one of the family of greenhouse gases) and potentially depriving those in need of a means to get back on their feet again. A number of creative ways are now emerging to help hospitality and food service businesses get surplus but good quality food to those people who really need it, providing economic and social as well as environmental benefits. Some of the new organisations that have emerged in the food redistribution sector will match make those businesses with surplus food with those organisations that have people in need. These food redistribution organisations have responded to the concerns about legal liability for any food that is offered to a third party and most will now take responsibility for the safety of the food from the minute it leaves your hospitality business. We particularly like the approach of PlanZheroes have significantly expanded their network in recent months, the Feeding the 5,000 campaign (which has a Pledge on its web site and various campaigns to – for example – reintroduce pig swill), FareShare and Vegware’s Food Waste Network that match makes food waste with its ideal partner (www.foodwastenetwork.org.uk)
If your businesses has surplus food that could help people in need contact one of these organisations. If you would like help with food waste prevention, sign up for one of our training courses at www.rhpltd.net.