WRAP, the organisation that helps businesses and individuals to reduce waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way, has identified a staggering £2.5 billion food waste bill in UK’s hospitality and food service sector, and claims 1.3 billion meals are wasted annually in the sector.
Worryingly, WRAP also predicts that this figure could rise beyond £3 billion by 2016 unless steps are taken to prevent food being wasted, and also points out that as the average annual cost per outlet is an estimated £10,000, it makes perfect business sense to save money by reducing food waste.
In response to these dramatic figures, WRAP has published new guidance, ‘Overview of waste in the UK Hospitality and Food Service (HaFS) Sector’, which provides information on how businesses can minimise their food waste and, as a result, save money. WRAP’s report outlines steps that will empower industry to tackle this problem, by wasting less and recycling more.
Charlotte Henderson, programme manager hospitality and food service ,WRAP, commented:
“Although the headline figures are large, there are significant opportunities across the whole hospitality and food service sector to reduce costs by tackling food waste.”
‘Overview on waste in the UK Hospitality and Food Service Sector’ details waste produced in each of the nine sub-sectors including restaurants, quick service restaurants, hotels, pubs, leisure, healthcare, education, staff catering and services. It includes a breakdown of the type of food being wasted, as well as the cost of this food waste for each subsector.
The report’s key findings across those nine sub-sectors include the following:
- The total annual waste including food, packaging and other ‘non-foods’ produced across the sector is 2.87 million tonnes. Of this, 46% is recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) or composted.
- Total food waste accounts for 920,000 tonnes of this overall figure, the equivalent to 1.3 billion meals or one in six of the 8 billion meals served annually by the sector*.
- 75% of all food wasted was avoidable and could have been eaten. Food waste generally arises from three main areas, 21% due to spoilage, 45% from food preparation and 34% from consumer plates.
- The estimated cost of a tonne of food waste is £2,800.
Steps are already underway to help industry tackle the problem of food waste. The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, a voluntary commitment created by WRAP on behalf of the governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was launched in June 2012 and has 171 signatories and supporters. The agreement is helping industry to prevent food and associated packaging waste under two targets:
- Prevention target: to reduce food and associated packaging waste arising by 5% by the end of 2015 against a 2012 baseline; measured by CO2e
- Waste management target: to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) or composted to at least 70% by the end of 2015.
Also, as part of its latest campaign, WRAP has also launched a new microsite to support the sector in reducing waste and help it recycle more. Food waste recycling for your business is free to access and includes information and practical advice on food waste recycling collections, including posters, bin labels, and case studies.