For most people, throwing away a loaf of bread that’s just past its best before date doesn’t require a second thought. Or idly scraping leftovers from the night before. This mentality has seen food waste in the UK rise back to its pre-pandemic level, with 19.7% of key products (bread, chicken, milk, and potatoes) thrown in the bin.
But it’s not just us at home filling up our bins, hospitality and food services are contributing too. Almost 18% of food purchased by hospitality and food services goes to waste. The recent pandemic with all the constraints it brings is affecting the hospitality sector. Cancellations and postponements due to new restrictions cause businesses to have a surplus of food that they can’t shed.
Some hotels have found ways to combat their food wastage on a small scale. Hotels including Ibis, Courtyard by Marriott, and Malmaison have offered bags on the newly popular Too Good To Go app. The app allows the public to browse local cafes, restaurants, and hotels to find ‘Magic Bags’ of food the establishment would have thrown out otherwise. Usually filled with pastries, cakes, and sandwiches, the food in the bags would not have been fresh enough to be sold the next day. This scheme reduces daily waste and makes the business some extra money, therefore saving waste and maintaining profits.
One hotel that is determined to reduce its waste contribution is Novotel Southampton. They have partnered up with a local business, Flavours Delivered, who makes use of any waste or extra produce to make meals for the local community. Flavours Delivered is food preparation and delivery service based in Winchester. They make healthy meals that are delivered to customers’ doorsteps for the week ahead. Over the pandemic, the local council approached the business and asked them to make meals for children who would usually go hungry. Novotel Southampton heard about Flavours Delivered and offered them access to the hotel’s kitchen and any extra produce that the hotel didn’t need. With this help, the business could make around 300-400 meals a day. Not only did this reduce food waste, it helped the children in the local community who would maybe not have been fed otherwise.
One of our clients experienced this charity first-hand with their annual Christmas party. With over 200 guests, there had to be a lot of food and drink to cater for the gathering. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event did not go ahead. The client had already paid for the party, including the food, which the hotel had ordered. The hotel staff mentioned work with Flavours Delivered who could use the food instead of it going to waste. All the food that was ordered was handed over to Flavours Delivered and prepared for children who needed it most. By giving them produce for free, it cuts their costs, meaning they can make more meals and help more people.
This is a simple and effective way of combatting food waste, while helping people in need.