Sustainability and food waste tips: innovation and working with suppliers is key

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Dr Richard Swannell: food waste costing sector £2.5billion per year
Dr Richard Swannell: food waste costing sector £2.5billion per year

Related tags: Food waste, Recycling

Hospitality and foodservice Industry figures have shared their experiences and top tips for cracking down on food waste.

Personalities from the sector as well as government and national bodies spoke on the benefits of sustainability and recycling during a webcast by Footprint Channel TV on Thursday 12 March.

Dr Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems and design and technical lead at WRAP, said: “I think one of the key things we’ve developed over the last few years is a whole suite of resources. There are 900,000 tonnes of food waste generated by the industry every year that’s costing businesses £2.5billion – on average every outlet could save £10,000 a year.

“We need to provide guidance that works for everyone within the sector, then we need widespread adoption of that guidance and that’s the stage we’re at now -  if you haven’t done anything before today then use today as your chance because together we can make a difference.”

Swannell said key to getting staff into good recycling habits was to fit it into normal routines and encourage regular checks on sustainability and waste.

This included things such as ensuring recycling bins were placed directly next to general waste bins for convenience when chefs are busy and creating awareness via social media.

A poll taken during the webcast reported that 76% of participating operators said they had done more to reduce food waste within their organisations this year than they had the previous year.

Supply chain solution

Vance Fairman-Smith, head of supply chain and purchasing at Spirit Pub Company, said: “Thanks to [Spirit’s] scale we’ve had the benefit of investing in a supply chain solution. We looked at where waste was going and what we could do to get it back.

“But the final mile is key – thinking about what drives an individual to recycle when restaurants are busy."

A second poll reported that within organisations, chefs were most influential over food waste management and recycling operations (41%) with senior management (25%) and staff (16%) following behind.


Swannell added: “Once you’ve started the journey the next step is working with your supply chain to see how you can go further – work with your suppliers and ask for the right amount of packaging that you can recycle."

He advised that looking at packaging innovation that increases shelf life as well as maintaining good relationships with suppliers was fundamental.

A collection of resources for operators interested in improving their sustainability and waste management is available at

Related topics: Training

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