LEADING SENIOR professionals from foodservice and hospitality businesses across the UK, including Hilton International, McDonald's, Carillion, Coca-Cola, the House of Lords and The Greater London Authority tuned into the latest FootprintChannel.TV live broadcast to hear new figures on food waste in the UK.
In an exclusive interview for FootprintChannel.TV Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP), revealed fresh new research from the leading recycling action organisation which showed the shocking extent of food waste in the UK.
The study of the hospitality and foodservice industry showed that the amount of food wasted each year in the UK is equivalent to 1.3 billion meals or, one in six of the 8 billion meals served each year.
It was also revealed that the annual cost of food waste in the UK is an estimated £2.5 billion, and that each foodservice outlet could be losing up to £10,000 through unsustainable waste practices.
FootprintChannel.TV's latest broadcast – Waste: A Moving Brief – follows up on its successful debate on food waste in 2012 which attracted hundreds of viewers across the industry and media.
The question of waste in the foodservice sector has taken on a new dimension since then, as leading companies across the supply chain regularly meet through Footprint Forum to develop best practice both internally as an industry and through partnership discussions with government departments.
Dr Swannell’s interview was followed by a live debate involving experts from Nestlé Professional, Spirit Pub Company, Pret A Manger, SWR Waste Management, WRAP and Vegware, around the topic of food waste and the current efforts to reduce and end bad practices.
During the debate, moderated by John Twitchen, Director of Copper Consultancy, the panel highlighted the business case for sustainable waste management throughout the industry.
Speaking about this morning’s live broadcast Charles Miers, MD of Footprint Media Group, said he was delighted that so many ‘tough but fair’ questions were put forward to the panel adding,“The question of food waste has risen up the agenda over the past year to the point that it’s making headline news; just two or three years previously this never would have been the case.
“Much of this is down to consumers, who are demanding action from leading food companies in response to the horsemeat scandal and issues around food labelling. But we are also seeing smaller business – who have taken progressive steps to cut waste – demand that those with more resources than them reveal what they are doing too.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to take action on waste and for those who haven’t got the message yet there is a clear business case, put forward by WRAP and many others, that cutting food waste is going to make a positive impact on the bottom line. Through Footprint Magazine, initiatives like Footprint Forum and FootprintChannel.TV we seek to distribute this message to all and drive action and change.”
An estimated 920,000 tonnes of food is wasted in the foodservice and hospitality sector in the UK, three quarters of which is avoidable. Just 12% of all food waste is recycled in the UK.
There is also an additional 130,000 tonnes of food waste from preparation of ready to serve food items and meals for the hospitality and foodservice sector, at food manufacturing sites.
On the topic of food waste and reduction methods Nick Fenwick-Clennell, CEO of Footprint commented: “There is a huge way to go in the fight against waste, but there are also a number of good news stories. Through our work with leading foodservice companies across the UK we have seen policies being introduced that are truly having an impact.
“In order to tackle the issues we must remember to celebrate those doing well, as well as work with those who need support.”
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To join Footprint Forum or simply find out some more information on sustainability in the hospitality and foodservice sector go to www.footprint.digital