Week-long campaign tackles food waste

Hotels urged to tackle food waste

Hotels urged to tackle food waste

A food waste campaign run in Wales run in co-ordination with the British Hospitality Association has targeted food waste.

The food waste reduction campaign ‘Your Business is Food, don’t throw it away’ has proven successful in informing target businesses how best to combat food waste.

In partnership with WRAP Cymru, the BHA conducted a pilot at seven restaurants and hotel businesses across Wales from Llandudno to Tenby, to increase resource efficiency in the food and drink sector by using the Your Business is Food tools and resources to ultimately help businesses reduce food waste from kitchen through to plate and increase profits.

The results became part of the ‘Your Business is Food Week of Action’ – which aims to raise awareness among businesses about how to reduce food waste – BHA and WRAP Cymru have launched an accompanying new video which features businesses using Your Business is Food tools and resources and explaining how beneficial they found using them.

All the businesses in the pilot, including those which already had sophisticated food waste reduction strategies in place, were able to see how much food waste they produced and find out the source and cost of this. The pilot found that the main source of waste were leftovers on the plate, caused by excessive portion sizes and unwanted extras.

Hugh Jones, Programme Area Manager, WRAP Cymru, said, “Tackling food waste within a business has real returns on the bottom line, and usually requires simple refining of existing working practices to have results. The Hospitality & Food Service Agreement, which operated between 2012 and 2015, showed how simple measuring and monitoring tactics for food waste helped businesses see the scale of the problem within their own operations, and pinpoint where action was required. Taking action helped those businesses involved in the Agreement save an estimated £67 million cumulatively, over three years. So, I’m delighted that the new Your Business is Food resources; which are based on the work of the HaFS agreement, have been so warmly welcomed during this trial, and to see that they are having similar positive results for these businesses.”

Speaking about the project, Dr Lisa Ackerley, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner and BHA Food Safety Adviser, said, “In the UK, an estimated £2.5bn of food is wasted each year in the hospitality industry and the British Hospitality Industry is leading the way in helping to change this. While businesses already implement great initiatives to combat food waste, campaigns such as ‘Your Business Is Food, don’t throw it away’ is an extra aid to help businesses take this further and be more efficient without compromising food safety.”

Also commenting, David Chapman, BHA's Executive Director for Wales, said, “Businesses in the BHA pilot were all very keen to see what more they could be doing to reduce their food waste. Good new practices on food preparation and food spoilage prevention were shared and work on better matching portion sizes to customer needs has started, but there is still a lot more we can do to begin to change consumer habits here.

“Businesses in the pilot felt the applied practices were very useful and helped to save money; and all were pleased they could further help the environment by sending less food to landfill.”

In addition, to the launch of the video as part of the Week of Action, the BHA is further highlighting the great work achieved by the businesses in a series of case studies, which can be read in full here.

LLansantffraed Court Hotel, Nr Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

Sustainability is a passion and a top priority for owner and manager Mike Morgan of Llansantffraed Court Hotel.  

Although all food waste is recycled in the hotel’s composter, Mike was keen to participate in the trials to seek new initiatives to reduce waste in the first place.

The introduction of Your Business is Food rekindled enthusiasm for Llansantffraed’s ethos of minimising food waste and motivated staff to participate. To reduce plate waste during the breakfast/buffet shift, the team closely monitored the breakfast station, ensuring it was constantly topped up but not overstocked.  Meals on the breakfast menu have also been broken down into separate components. This now enables the customer to order and hence receive what they are going to eat and helps prevent them from over-ordering.

“Food waste is not just a cost; it’s simply wrong. We must do all we can to reduce it, and Your Business is Food is a great way to help with this...” - Mike Morgan

The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

Your Business is Food, don’t throw it away was a changing force. It was the catalyst to prompt the Angel’s experiment with smaller portion sizes to combat the most significant food waste contributor of plate waste.

Paul, Executive Chef at the Angel Hotel, also explained his strong commitment to the use of fine local suppliers for quality meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. He runs the kitchen to ensure he gets every bit of goodness from foods by boiling down bones, vegetable tops and onion skins to make stocks and sauces. 

Empire Hotel, Llandudno

At the Empire Hotel, they wanted to preserve their practice of offering guests the choice of a breakfast buffet and a plated, personalised breakfast dish, but following the using the Your Business is Food waste tracker were able to link both much closer together to prevent excess food from being prepared by the chefs. Staff now eat any leftovers at the end of the buffet/breakfast shift, a benefit that not only helps keep them motivated during the lunch/dinner shifts but also keeps food waste outputs low.

Spoilage waste was already low before monitoring through careful ordering and inventive ways of using kitchen leftovers. Roasts, for example, were recycled into stews, stocks and innovative dishes- one produced by Michael is popular “savoury crumble”. Roast Lamb and poached Salmon offcuts are used in a similar way while spare Roast Beef cuts are made, for example, into Boef Bourgignon.

“’Your Business is Food, don’t throw it away’ has shown that by careful ordering and planning, further spoilage can be avoided. Using every part of the food helps to reduce preparation waste – we use the trimmings for pates, sandwich fillings, stocks, sauces and casseroles. If we can help it, nothing goes to waste.” - Michael Waddy, Head Chef, Empire Hotel

For any business which would like to see if they can reduce their food waste, the WRAP Your Business is Food materials are available to download via the BHA website. In addition the Green Hotelier Know How Guide on Managing and Reducing Food Waste is available for free here.

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