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New Year’s Resolution: Make 2020 the year you tackle food waste

Make tackling food waste your new year’s resolution and bask in the glow of saving money, saving food and doing your bit to help the climate too.

‘Guardians of Grub’ is a campaign designed for the hospitality and food service sector to help reduce its impact on the climate and limit wasted food. It’s about empowering kitchens to be more efficient by sharing free tools and case studies to ensure operators are focused on feeding people, not bins.

Here are some tips to help you tackle food waste:

Get the right portion size

Offer portion sizes and side dish options as well as takeaway doggy boxes. There’s nothing nicer than seeing diners go home with a treat for another day. Asking about what they want in the first place will help avoid unnecessary waste.

o    Case study: The Ship Inn. Plate waste was reduced by 67% by putting out smaller portions of sauce and offering smaller portion sizes, particularly chips. The kitchen also stopped putting garnishes on sandwiches, burgers and other meals.

Savvy storage stops waste

First in, first out! Store newer items at the back to ensure older items are used first, and label and date new supplies as they come in. Use airtight containers or cling film to keep ingredients fresh – or freeze them. Look at how leftovers can be utilised in new dishes; bits and pieces not served might make additions to the next meal. Freeze and defrost meat in batches, rather than all at once.

Clever ordering can cut waste

Check your stock and purchase only what you need for what’s coming up. Try buying smaller portions of fresh produce (and ordering more often), as well as supporting local suppliers – you’ll get fresh seasonal produce that lasts longer. You can keep track of how you are doing with our Guardians of Grub tracking sheets to see how you can improve and to keep everyone focused on keeping good food out of the bin.

o    Case study: Greene King. Too much food was being prepared late in the evening service period, after the main evening peak, which led to unnecessary spoilage. By tracking bookings and customer numbers in the restaurant, requirements for defrosting and other preparation could be more carefully controlled, reducing wastage of high value ingredients.

Create a smart menu

Explore ways of using the same ingredients for different dishes. Use cooking methods for meat, fruit and vegetables and herbs that make the most of ingredients. Be creative by using leftover ingredients and offcuts.

o   Case study: Dragon Hotel.. Better menu design, supported by a new stock control system, has led to a 25% decrease in perishable food purchasing costs.

Engage with your customers

Let them know you care about what happens to the food you are serving and that ensuring they get the very best, without waste, is important to you. Find out what food they don’t like and leave it out of their meal – research shows that people increasingly care about food waste, so this approach will help them take action.

Ensure staff have essential skills

Empower staff and train them on how to avoid food going to waste. Review your preparation schedule and food handling procedures and remove less popular or time-consuming dishes from your menu.

Target, measure, act

You can work out which top tips are best for you by tracking where the food thrown away on your site is coming from. This will allow you to find the hot spots, working with your kitchen team to find out how you can save and see how this makes a difference straight to the bottom line. Check out the operational tools here to find out more.