Food wastage in the UK

Food wastage in the UK

Businesses that operate within the catering and hospitality sector, should have an effective waste management strategy implemented to ensure they’re complying with the duty of care requirements that have been set out by the UK government.

The aim of all businesses is to remain profitable and therefore continue operating. Eager entrepreneurs will have second thoughts on the importance of implementing a waste management strategy; but this can in fact help them save money in the long run, which is vital for anyone working in the hospitality sector. 

You can receive insightful information regarding the type of waste you’re producing if you use a waste management company. Not only that, the waste management contractor you sign up with will be able to draw up a profile of your business and calculate the amount of waste your company generates — which can be beneficial in terms of waste collection timings.

Because food waste is becoming a huge epidemic in Britain, Reconomy specialists in skip hire, take a look at how much waste different type of businesses are producing in this industry and how much it is costing them annually whilst taking a look at some historical data.

Waste produced by Restaurants, Hotels and Pubs

Pubs seem to be in a constant battle with the amount of waste they’re producing and it costs the sector £357 million every year. This price includes cost of labour, food procurement and waste management costs but can still equate to £2,100 per tonne.

The consumption of food waste in the UK comes mostly from unavoidable food waste, which is above 25%. Around 20% comes from potatoes and 15% comes from fruit and vegetables.

The costs for food waste for each put is averagely £8,000 each year, with the cost of avoidable food waste working out at around £0.41 per meal. Out of 871 million meals, UK pubs are responsible for serving 11% of all meals eaten — equating to around 871 million meals.

In total, 873,000 tonnes of waste are generated by pubs on an annual basis — 173,000 tonnes of it being food waste

A lot food is being wasted with the hotel sector – with them having internal restaurants, room service and snacks available. The cost of food waste in hotels each year accounts for £318 million, which also includes labour, food procurement and waste management costs. However, this is broken down to £4,000 per tonne.

The biggest cost is from unavoidable food waste, which is about 35%. This is followed by potatoes, which is at 20%, and fruit and vegetables accounting for a total of 15%.

The average cost of avoidable food is £0.52 for every meal served. Considering that 8% of all meals are eaten out in the UK — equivalent to 611 million meals — this is a huge amount to pay.

Figures show that 289,700 tonnes of waste is produced each year, with 79,000 of that coming from food waste.

For Restaurants, waste is a key focus across the country and costs the sector £882 million annually. Although this price includes food procurement, labour, utilities and waste management costs — this can still accumulate for £3,500 for each tonne.

Like pubs, 25% of food waste in unavoidable, 20% comes from potatoes and 16% comes from fruit and veg. The smallest amount of food waste from restaurants is generated by whole servings and dairy products.

There a number of financial implications that a business can face when it comes to food waste. The average cost of avoidable food waste to a restaurant is £0.97 per meal. This is something that restaurants must have a focus on, as they are responsible for 9% of the meals served in Britain annually — equivalent to 704 million meals.

Each year the restaurant sector produces 915,400 tonnes of waste and 199,100 of it is accounted for by food waste.

How to calculate your own waste
You will find that there are number of methods that you can take to calculate the amount of waste you’re producing before getting a waste management organisation involved. Start by distributing your waste into different sections and this will allow you to have a visual insight into the types of waste you’re producing.

You can use different bins to collect the appropriate data on food prepation, spoilage and leftovers that come in from your customer plates. Use the data you have collected and multiply this figure by the amount it costs per tonne and this will tell you how much it is costing your business each year.

The majority of food waste comes from:

  • Food preparation – 45%.
  • Customer plates – 34%.
  • Spoilage – 21%.

If you’re business is within the hospitality sector are looking to reduce the amount of food waste you’re generating, there are few methods you can take to achieve this. If you find that your menu size is quite large, you will find yourself buying a lot of ingredients which could go to waste if no one orders certain meals. To combat this, monitor the type of food being ordered in your restaurant and this will give you the knowledge on what dishes you can remove from your menu.

You might want to look into whether the portion sizes that you’re providing are too big, if they are, reducing them in size can lead to less waste from your customers. It could also be a good idea to buy long-lasting ingredients that are vital in your kitchen and can be used across different dishes, such as spices; it’s only important to buy fresh food only as you need.

To help better the environment and give back to your community, any food waste should be donated to homeless shelters or to a local farm — where unused waste can be fed to the animals.

The Governments Plot for business waste

With the focus on becoming a country that produces zero waste – Prime Minister Theresa May has recently pledged to eliminate plastic waste in the UK by 2042 with a goal to safeguard the environment.

Catering and Hospitality businesses must have an appropriate way to store waste correctly before it leaves the premises. Once stored, you must produce a waste transfer note for each load that is planned to be removed from your premises. It’s your duty to ensure that your waste carrier is registered with the appropriate authorities to dispose waste, and if they aren’t you must not use them.

Try calculating how much waste your catering business is producing — then witness rapid results when you make the appropriate changes.