FOODSERVICE COMPANIES save £10m in a ‘really encouraging’ 12 months but most of the sector is yet to get on board.
Foodservice companies have saved £10m through a voluntary scheme to reduce their waste. It marks what the co-ordinator of the initiative, WRAP, describes as a “really encouraging” first year. “We’ve seen interest from across the board and there are signatories from all the nine subsectors” in hospitality and foodservice, explains Charlotte Henderson, programme area manager for hospitality at WRAP.
So far, 25% of the industry by turnover have signed up as signatories and, in doing so, agreed to monitor and measure their waste. Of course, that leaves 75% that haven’t joined the club. The message to them is clear: you are missing out.
WRAP estimates that across the sector £2.5 billion is lost due to food waste alone. The plan is to cut waste by 5% by 2015 based on carbon emissions. Caterer BaxterStorey, another signed up to the scheme, has already cut food waste by 81% by weight at one large London site – a move that has increased gross margin by £13,500 in seven months.
The Empire Hotel in Llandudno, Wales, has also set about reducing the number of side dishes it offers guests, reorganising its procurement and refrigeration procedures and redistributing anything that’s still left over. The result? “We’ve cut food costs by 10%,” says general manager Elyse Waddy, “and that’s far more than we ever anticipated.”
With all these benefits, the real surprise is that more businesses haven’t signed up. But Henderson is under no illusions that progress will be steady rather than startling.
“Change will take time”, but the first year’s results “demonstrate that collectively the signatories are making progress and reducing food waste as well as recycling more. It’s the start of the journey.”
It’s only 12 months since the scale of the sector’s waste problem was first highlighted. In its report, “Overview of Waste in the Hospitality and Food Service Sector”, WRAP calculated that 2.87m tonnes of waste are created every year, with 46% recycled. The 93 signatories to WRAP’s agreement, HaFSA, have already hit 54%, which puts the 70% target within sight. Waste has also been cut by 6,100 tonnes, albeit against a backdrop of the 920,000 tonnes of food waste created annually. As the progress report concludes, the cost of food waste to signatories stands at £250m – a £10m saving is a start but there is “still a lot more that can be done”.