WRAP running month of restaurant food waste action

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is dedicating the month of September to the prevention of food waste in commercial kitchens.

The Stand Up For Food month comes as part of WRAP’s Guardians of Grub campaign, which aims to tackle the £3 billion of food thrown away each year at hospitality and food outlets.

WRAP is targeting restaurant food waste with a month of action

The hospitality sector currently throws out one million tonnes of food annually, wasting the equivalent of one in every six meals.

During the month of action, bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, cafes and catering companies throughout the UK will be encouraged to target food waste through using a range of free resources provided by WRAP. These resources include guidance and advice to help measure and review the amount of food thrown away.

The campaign is supported by the government’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot, as well as well-known chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Adam Handling and Anna Jones.

Ben Elliot, who was appointed as the government’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion at the start of 2019 to help promote awareness of food waste, said: “It’s truly time to Stand Up For Food – food need not be wasted. This brilliant month of action, led by WRAP, empowers every food business, ensuring that food waste is taken off the menu. To the gallant Guardians, I recommend the brilliant resources provided by WRAP, created to help tackle this very important issue.”

Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP, added: “Food waste usually goes unnoticed in relation to climate change, but the reality is that we won’t stop temperatures rising if we fail to address the problems within the food system. We see no place for food waste on any UK menu, and I’m confident that Stand Up For Food will be a great success, and an important moment in the war on food waste.

“This is the largest, most inclusive campaign we’ve ever undertaken with the hospitality and food service sector and key has been recruiting the Guardians to make this happen in their own businesses, and arming those people with the right resources to help. And while we focus attention on one industry in September, it’s a moment too when we can all think about how we contribute to food waste, and what we can do to limit that – it’s food for thought.”

Restaurants that have taken part in WRAP’s Guardians of Grub campaign so far have seen significant reductions in the amount of food thrown away. Crieff Hydro Hotel in Perthshire, for example, took part in a trial to track food waste in its main restaurant using a smart meter. The hotel was able to reduce costs relating to food thrown away by around 43 per cent, equating to an annual saving of 11.5 tonnes of food – approximately £51,750 of savings.

Similarly, The Dragon Hotel in Swansea has reduced its perishable food purchasing costs by 25 per cent by using WRAP’s food tracking resources.

Reducing restaurant waste

With more and more Brits eating out on a regular basis, failure to finish meals means that an increasing amount of food is ending up in the bin. Research published by online marketplace company Groupon in 2017 revealed that 35 per cent of Brits dine out at least once a week, with a further 35 per cent admitting that they did not finish their food last time they ate out. According to the study, the average Brit wastes £80.21 every year on unfinished food, amounting to over £4 billion in total.

The research from Groupon also highlighted that Brits are reluctant to take leftover food home in a doggy bag, with 27 per cent of respondents admitting that they would be too embarrassed to ask for one.

To tackle this stigma, Groupon launched a ‘Takeaway Tote’ bag – a foldable doggy bag containing pockets and containers for different types of food, and an air freshener to mask any unwanted smells.

Behaviour change charity Hubbub has previously targeted restaurant food waste, working with commercial food waste app Winnow and Compass Group UK and Ireland to reduce the amount of food thrown away in corporate and university restaurants using a mix of nudge messaging, rewards, social norms and ongoing feedback.

Winnow is an example of technology being used in an innovative way to reduce food waste, allowing users in the hospitality industry to track and weigh the items they are throwing away, recording the information in a report that details the financial cost of the waste produced. Similar apps targeting hospitality sector food waste include Too Good To Go and Karma offering customers surplus restaurant food at a reduced price.

You can find out more about WRAP’s Stand Up For Food month on the Guardian’s of Grub website

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