Research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows that the hospitality industry has the equivalent of over 1.3bn meals go to waste every year. The Food Save scheme helps small businesses to combat this.
Results from the first 15 businesses to take part in the scheme show annual savings of over £6,000 in direct food costs as well as a reduction of 1.6 tonnes of food waste.
The success the scheme has had with the first 15 businesses taking part has meant that 200 more businesses are now being invited to join in. The project is free for those taking part and is funded by the Mayor of London, European Regional Development Fund and London Waste and Recycling Board, while being delivered by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) and Sustain.
Senior operations manager at the SRA Victoria Moorhouse said: “Food Save is making very good progress towards its ultimate target to divert more than 1,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill, reduce over 150 tonnes of food waste and save businesses over £350,000.
“The power of what we are doing with the scheme is measuring the impact that these interventions make to food waste and the resulting cost savings. By making staff aware of what they are throwing away and how this impacts the bottom line helps to shape behaviour change and this is the key to making change last.”
The Imperial restaurant in south west London is one of the 15 restaurants first involved in the scheme, and is on track to save £10,000 and prevent almost one tonne of food waste a year thanks to the project. The team at the restaurant have been offering different portion sizes to customers, measuring out sides in cups and using leftovers for their soup of the day and items on the specials menu to prevent things going to waste.
Director of The Imperial Kate MacWhirter said: “Food Save 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.”