Resource Use

FoodSave helps small businesses reduce food waste by 70 tonnes

L-R: Imperial chef Tom Hope with Matthew Pencharz, Mayor of London's Environment Advisor.

A London food waste prevention scheme, The FoodSave initiative, which was launched by London Mayor Boris Johnson last November, has so far helped 15 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) collectively save more than £100,000 a year and reduce waste arisings by 70 tonnes, it has been announced.

Funded by the Mayor in partnership with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), the campaign provides various forms of business support to help reduce food waste, including:

·         identifying where food is most wasted;

·         providing advice on how to reduce food waste;

·         helping businesses send food to people in need through organisations that redistribute food;

·         helping businesses to direct food waste to feed animals such as pigs;

·         and, for unavoidable food waste, supporting composting and renewable energy generation

One of the funders of the scheme, the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), outlined that by ‘measuring the impact that these interventions make to food waste and the resulting cost savings…. Staff [are] aware of what they are throwing away and how this impacts the bottom line’, which in turn ‘helps to shape behaviour change [which is] the key to making change last’.

According to the programme, the first 15 businesses that have taken part have shown an average annual saving of over £6,000 in direct food costs and a reduction of 1.6 tonnes of actual food waste - equivalent to two dozen 180 litre bins. Two of the business are predicted to save over £10,000, with one expected to save £24,000.

‘Eye opening’ results at The Imperial

One of the businesses taking part in the scheme, The Imperial restaurant, in south west London, is on track to save £10,000 and prevent almost one tonne of food waste a year by offering different portion sizes, measuring out side orders in cups and using leftover food for their ‘soup of the day’ and special menu items.

Kate MacWhirter, Director of The Imperial, said: “FoodSave has been an eye-opener and has really helped us identify precisely the areas where we were wasting food and enabled us to come up with solutions. We’ve changed the size of and ingredients for certain dishes and have created daily delicious specials with food that would historically have gone to waste. The amount we are saving is enough to help pay for another member of staff, which is fantastic.”

As such, members of the London hospitality sector are being urged to join the scheme, in the hopes of preventing more than 1,000 tonnes of food waste being sent to landfill.

The Mayor of London’s Environment Advisor, Matthew Pencharz, commented: “With FoodSave cafés, pubs and restaurants are learning simple ways to reduce the amount of food they throw away and saving thousands of pounds in the process. The Mayor now wants hundreds more businesses to get on board this great free scheme and help us dramatically reduce food waste across the city.”

Find out more about the FoodSave initiative.