A World First for UK food business

By Peter Maddox, Director WRAP 

It goes without saying, managing a busy restaurant requires accurate monitoring of ingredients, particularly with multiple sittings and changing menus. Having a clear measure of the flow of ingredients-to-plate is crucial to ensure dishes are served profitably. But when it comes to measuring how much food a business wastes, there’s still an opportunity to improve understanding of the size and cost of food waste within your operations.

At this week’s annual meeting of Champions 12.3 in New York; the group overseeing the global campaign to halve food waste by 2030, WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover shared a ground-breaking initiative to help UK hospitality and food service sites overcome this problem; and contribute towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.

WRAP and IGD have worked with multiple partners in the food industry to develop a bespoke plan for the UK, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.

The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is a UK food and drink sector-wide ambition showing how the UK can deliver its part of SDG 12.3, while providing free resources and guidance for UK businesses to implement a simple three actions strategy of Target-Measure-Act to reduce food waste in their operations.


So, what does this Roadmap mean for the Hospitality and Foodservice sector?

Well, in 2015 UK HaFS businesses threw away one million tonnes of food; worth £2.9 billion. The shocking reality is that nearly 75% of that food could have been eaten. Through the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, we’ve set out how you can implement the three-steps in your business to help reduce waste.

We know that collaboration is key, and the Roadmap recognises the complexity of the sector and offers guidance on working collaboratively. To underpin the Roadmap, WRAP is developing a sector specific Action Plan which outlines the key milestones to deliver food waste prevention across the board.

But there’s no need to wait – your business can begin today.

The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap explains how to Target food waste in your operations today, and set a baseline and goal for reducing the amount of food thrown away. You can align your ambitions directly with the 12.3 target and aim to halve this waste, or if that’s not feasible set a target relative to your situation and that contributes towards SDG12.3. Then Measure.

WRAP and IGD have developed specific tools for HaFS businesses to measure food waste consistently, supported with guidance on how to reduce it. You can begin with the Your Business is Food; don’t throw it away guide and calculator, and check what other businesses are already doing with our case studies. Thirdly, you can Act.

You can act on the food waste in many ways and through working with organisations like WRAP, IGD or the SRA directly. And your local Environmental Health Practitioner can also provide advice. But key is acting in collaboration and raising awareness of the issue with your suppliers, with staff, and with consumers to fight against food waste together.

For the Hospitality and Food Service sector, accelerating the good work already happening on cutting food waste has a number of benefits; helping to develop innovation and skills in chefs – and of course “sustainability” is an increasingly attractive selling point for your customers. Put simply, keeping food out of the bin makes good business sense, good societal sense and is the right thing to do for the environment.

But more importantly, when a third of the world doesn’t have enough food to feed itself, we must ensure we do all we can to make the most of the food we have.

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