The challenge of reducing waste in a catering environment – are you ready to take action?

One third of all food produced is wasted

According to WRAP worldwide we waste a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food globally each year, this equates to one third of all food produced for human consumption. You can see more about that here.

How can caterers take action to help reduce this wastage? Your profits and the planet will both benefit, so let’s explore some practicable solutions:


  • Avoid overbuying stock – make sure you only purchase what you need. This is especially when it comes to perishable products. This may be a tough one. There is always a temptation to stock up, just in case of delivery issues in the food supply chain and in times of uncertainty.


  • Store food correctly – are you confident that all food is being stored at the correct temperature? And that fridges and freezers are operating at the correct temperatures? Rotate stock appropriately, especially your perishable items.


  • Label food correctly – if food is decanted into different containers for storage then definitely make sure they are clearly label with allergens, date information and a product description. Keeping stock organised makes it much easier to keep track on what you have and what needs using. It also helps reduce the chance of unlabelled containers from simply being thrown away either in error or because you don’t know what’s in them!


  • Keep a stock inventory – to prevent waste you should always know exactly which foods you have in stock. At all times! This means keeping a detailed list of the foods in all of your storage areas including their use by or best before dates. This list should easily accessible so you can refer to it as needed.


  • Ensure deliveries match orders – make sure you only accept exactly what you ordered, and that the product is well within its use by date. And that it is of good quality.


  • Portion Control – Make sure you portion specification matches the requirement of your diner. It is estimated that over a quarter of customers leave food on their plate at the end of their meal. This waste is avoidable and will also help your food spend budget.


  • Don’t overextend your menu – keep it simple! This produces a number of benefits from cost management to waste management. The bigger and more extensive your menu the more stock you need to hold. This heightens the risk of unnecessary waste.


Your catering operation could benefit from food cost savings and also make a positive impact when it comes to sustainability. All by reducing waste in very achievable ways. As food procurement experts and foodservice consultants, we provide practical advice and support, gleaned from hands-on experience. Please do contact us if you need support achieving your sustainability goals.

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