Fighting food waste, one step at a time

For our 2016 research we decided to concentrate on one of the biggest issues within the Catering Industry – waste. Where does it come from, what do we do with it and crucially, how do we reduce the amount produced to a sustainable level? This is not only from a budget perspective, but importantly an environmental one. With populations rising, the amount of food waste we produce as a whole simply can’t continue.

It’s not rocket science that this is one of the biggest issues that we face as an Industry. We’ve known this for a long time, yet it’s a topic that is seen as almost too big to tackle as a whole. The Food Industry throws away almost 920,000 tonnes of food every year, 75 per cent of which is avoidable, but what to do about it? Reasons for not tackling the problem effectively range from ‘it’s too hard’ to ‘every solution costs yet more money’.

However, we don’t believe that this is a problem without a solution and when broken down into more manageable sectors, we can all work together to make food waste a thing of the past.

When carrying out this research we questioned those working directly in university catering teams, as well as experts in the field of food waste. We also spoke to university graduates and you, our members, to see what is already being done to address the issue and what should be done in the future.

The findings were very interesting. Food waste costs £250m a year in the Education Sector, an area in which operators already have unbelievable tight margins. Students are a tough consumer sector to please and, although university caterers are working hard to reduce waste, it’s often difficult in an area where people complain about prices, yet are willing to go to high-price branded competitors if they don’t like what is on offer.

The research report identifies five key challenges facing catering professionals when it comes to managing – and critically, reducing – food waste. This supplement goes into these in detail and looks at how, through being part of the solution, we can help to address the issue of waste and make sure we reduce its impact on future generations.

Matthew White, Chair, TUCO

CLICK HERE to read about key challenges

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