Food waste can be a huge challenge for large businesses running high volume operations on a national scale. The potential benefits though, are equally great.
In the last 18 months JD Wetherspoon has set the template. Since embarking on a review of its entire approach to food waste at the end of 2017, the pub giant has reduced waste by introducing smaller portions of a number of menu favourites and sending unwanted useable food to FareShare. The company also switched waste management company, so it could send unavoidable waste for anaerobic digestion. On top of these impressive changes which helped it win the SRA’s Waste No Food category at the Food Made Good Awards 2018, CEO John Hutson reports that Wetherspoons will be setting itself further reduction targets for 2019.
Many operators report success in reducing waste using both traditional training and more sophisticated technological solutions.
Bill Toner of CH & Co: “We are showing our chefs how to use more of the vegetable, including the peelings, or as much of the animal as possible and this has to become instinctive and not task-driven.”
Even the peeling process can be a source of innovation and a very useful bi-product. The Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven sends regular deliveries to a local pig farmer of 50 litres of starch filtered off the water used for cleaning its potatoes.
At River Cottage, where waste levels were already well managed, the introduction of smart scales helped drive them down further.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall reports: “We’ve made good progress on waste with some help from Winnow. We’ve reduced our food waste by 25-33%. But it gets to the point where you’ve done that, you’re using an appropriate amount of surplus in specials and it’s hard to know how you can bring it
down even further.”