Historically food has been one of the most wasteful elements of a wedding. Back in 2017 Sainsbury’s revealed that on average 10% of food ends up in the bin which is the equivalent of £500 worth of food! With 15% of couples saying that they threw away at least a third of their wedding cake.
But I’m pleased to say that over the last 3 years across the industry we’ve seen a gradual increase in both couple and caterer awareness. After all, no one wants to waste food, or money.
Environmentally conscious caterers work closely their couples to design seasonal, personal menus that work for them, their guests and their budget, minimising waste at every stage of the process. Serving a fully vegetarian (or vegan) wedding breakfast has a lower impact on the planet, without sacrificing the taste. Plant-based foods, on average, consume far fewer resources to produce, but vegan food isn’t for everyone.
In the last couple of years we’ve also seen an increase in food collection services such as OLIO, Karma and To Good To Go. Donating to local foodbanks and homeless shelters are also options but regulations can be strict, so caterers should always check well in advance to ensure that nothing goes to waste.
And it’s not just about the food on the wedding day, it’s also important to consider the waste within the supply chain, food preparation and cooking. For example, food and cooking oil waste can be collected and converted into bio-diesel, bio-methane, electricity, heat and organic fertiliser.
UKHospitality CEO, Kate Nicholls, says: “WRAP have done some fantastic work in recent years to highlight and tackle the problem of food waste in the hospitality sector. This is a hugely important issue for businesses, individuals and for us all as a society. Tackling food waste will be a major step in addressing climate change, which is arguably the single biggest issue of our time. Guardians of Grub is a great initiative, highlighting the issue of food waste and providing solutions to tackle it. Even during this time of crisis in the hospitality sector, food waste reduction is important, not only for its environmental benefits but also in protecting businesses financially. We will continue to enthusiastically support WRAP and encourage you to get involved with Food Waste Action Week and the Guardians of Grub Campaign this year. We recommend that all hospitality businesses utilise the tools that WRAP has made available to monitor and reduce their food waste.’’
Food Waste Action Week – 1st to 7th March 2021
Taking place from 1st to 7th March 2021, Food Waste Action Week is designed to raise awareness of the impact that wasting food has on the planet. Not just in the weddings and hospitality industry, but in our homes too. 30% of man-made global greenhouse gases are created from the production and consumption of food and there’s never been a better time to take a stand.
As a caterer, what can you do to make an impact?
In just a few easy steps, you can find out how much money and carbon equivalent you could save if you started reducing your wasted food; let’s feed people not bins. Use the Guardian of Grub Cost Saving Calculator to see how much money, food and carbon emissions you could save.
Take the pledge to show you are a Guardian of Grub. Measure food waste for four weeks using the Tracking Sheet and add data to the Tracking Calculator. You can share your results confidentially by sending them to email@example.com. You could also sign up to the free Guardians of Grub: Becoming a Champion online learning course to develop your skills to fight food waste across your business.
Share your support for the Week on social media, using Food Waste Action Week copy, describe the actions you’re taking on food waste with Guardians of Grub tools, and share monthly follow ups on your progress post-Food Waste Action Week.
Juliane Caillouette Noble, Managing Director, Sustainable Restaurant Association, says: “Creating a week in the calendar dedicated to reducing food waste is long overdue. We wholeheartedly support Food Waste Action Week and would urge all foodservice businesses to take this opportunity to tool up with WRAP’s excellent Guardians of Grub resources so they maximise the amount of food they feed people and not bins, while minimising costs and their impact on the planet.”
Let’s make a stand together this Food Waste Action Week, so we can all help save food, our profits and the planet.