‘Plate wastage from restaurants is nearly half of all waste; if you feel sizings are too big or you don’t want a side with your meal don’t be afraid to tell the staff to help reduce food wastage’. This is the message from Daniel Harper, who is conducting an audit of 60 hospitality businesses in Byron Shire to reduce food waste on behalf of the EPA.
Data from this program will help identify the worst examples of food waste, but Love Food Hate Waste conducted a pilot program last year with a few businesses in NSW and found that 74 per cent of food waste occurs before food is even sold and served. Things like overproduction, spoilage, aesthetic specifications from retailers or wholesalers, and food preparation all contribute to the amount of food that is wasted by food businesses each week.
Food waste in business is avoidable and is usually the result of poor stock management, food handling, or incorrect serving sizes. It doesn’t make sense to spend money buying and preparing food just to throw it away, so the Your Business is Food Program will look to address this.
According to the EPA, ‘ It’s a question of identifying waste volumes and where they occur. The program starts with businesses collecting their food waste over a week, and that’s often a shock for them because it’s only when you see it that you realise how much there is. They get three buckets. One for food wasted in prep, like meat trimmings, one for food that gets thrown away through storage practices, like food that’s gone off, and the third for plate waste.
‘Most cafes and restaurants are shocked at just how much food is in those buckets. Often the cook might not see what’s being left on plates or is surprised at just how much food is going past its best and can’t be used. What we then do is to help the business focus on where the most food is being wasted and take up some actions to change it.
‘In the case of plate waste, actions to reduce waste might include offering smaller portion sizes or takeaway containers. In the case of storage practices, restaurants can make sure you use the first-in-first-out system and see if you can order less more often.’
Participants in the Your Business is Food program receive tailored one-on-one support, resources, and information as well as local and statewide promotion. If you are interested in participating contact Daniel at Coolplanet on 0405 459 565 or [email protected]