February 2018

New Guides Could Save 16m Tons of Food Going to Waste in US


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Our Sustainable Business team has been working with US-based multi-stakeholder not-for-profit organisation ReFED on two new guides designed to help the restaurant and food service industries reduce up to 16m tons of food waste, the equivalent of 1.5 billion meals a year.

Not-for-profit ReFED led the development of the guides Restaurant Food Waste Action Guide and Foodservice Food Waste Action Guide and commissioned our resource efficiency specialists to provide the technical content based on consultations with a range of US-based restaurants and food service companies, as well as our experience in the UK.

The guides were developed with support from the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) and included input from over 80 experts including: Compass Group, Aramark, Sodexo, Delaware North and a host of leading restaurants.

Mark Hilton, Head of Resource Efficiency led the technical research, working with the head of our New York office Sarah Edwards, Consultant Camilla Durrant and Junior Consultant Alice Morris. The team put together practical step by step measures businesses can take to prioritize and implement prevention, recovery and recycling practices and procedures within and across their business, demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits.

Commenting on the new guides, Mark said:

“Despite good practice amongst several of the bigger food businesses, no one company has a monopoly on ‘best practice’. Our work in both the US and UK, on food waste prevention and recovery has demonstrated that there are many opportunities for businesses to deliver financial savings whilst continuing to deliver excellent customer service and meet quality requirements.

“On top of savings for businesses, the environmental benefits are significant too, food being hugely resource intensive to produce. The action guides allow businesses to benchmark against others and prioritize where changes can make the greatest impact. Putting the recommendations in these guides into practice will also spur economic growth and create local jobs, for example in food redistribution and recycling operations, and these wider benefits should not be overlooked.”

The new guides mark the next step towards ReFED’s commitment to reduce the $218 billion of food waste in the United States and meet the national goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030. ReFED previously launched the pioneering A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent.

“Food waste reduction is quickly becoming a key element of financial and reputational value for restaurants and foodservice providers,” explains Chris Cochran, Executive Director of ReFED. “ReFED is now partnering with leading restaurants and foodservice providers to put food waste solutions into action.”

At the time the guides were published, ReFED also announced a new partnership with foodservice multi-national Compass Group, who serve a total of 5.5 billion meals per year in over 50 different countries. The partnership aims to find innovative solutions pilots to support several Compass Group client sites across varying business sectors.

Eunomia’s sustainable business team advises the food and grocery sector on packaging and food waste management best practice, eco design, and resource efficiency.