UK restaurants are being urged to follow the example of French supermarkets in a bid to crack down on the estimated 600,000 tonnes of food waste generated by the hospitality sector each year.
Almost 65% of food waste generated by the hospitality industry occurs at the back-of-house and a third derives from customers’ plates, with British restaurants often standing accused of serving over-sized portions.
The remainder of waste tends to be disposed of at the preparation stage — equating to three double-decker buses of food for every restaurant.
Hospitality recruitment company Urban People says the industry needs to change its, and only needs to look at developments in France for inspiration.
Jo Fowle, director of Urban People, said: “The UK currently tops the EU charts when it comes to food waste and new legislation in France forcing supermarkets to donate surplus food to charity has put pressure on retailers and suppliers this side of the Channel to step up their efforts.”
Figures suggest that food waste in the UK is not solely a supermarket issue, with almost 40,000 tonnes of the food wasted in the hospitality industry.
This, according to Fowle, could — and should — be avoided if restaurants served better-sized portions and improved existing management, storage and preparation techniques.
“As well as the massive cost to the environment, food waste is costing businesses a fortune – £2.5 billion annually in the UK alone. Reducing food waste therefore has both an environmental and economic incentive,” said Fowle.