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Food Waste Cost UK Hospitality, Food Service Sector $4.1 Billion

From Environmental Leader, Published 03 December 2013

Food waste cost the UK hospitality and food service sector £2.5 billion ($4.1 billion) in 2011, according to a report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Unless the sector takes steps to prevent food waste , this figure could increase beyond £3 billion ($5 billion) by 2016, says Overview of waste in the UK Hospitality and Food Service (HaFS) Sector . WRAP’s report also highlights the benefit of saving money by reducing food waste as the average annual cost per outlet is an estimated £10,000 ($16,348).

Key findings include:

  • The total annual waste across the sector is 2.87 million metric tons, of which 46 percent is sent to anaerobic digestion (AD), composted or recycled .
  • Regarding this figure food waste accounts for 920,000 metric tons; this is equal to 1.3 billion meals or one in six of the 8 billion meals served annually by the sector.
  • Food waste commonly arises from three main areas: 45 percent from food preparation, 34 percent from consumer plates and 21 percent due to spoilage.
  • Some 75 percent of all food wasted was avoidable and could have been eaten.
  • The estimated cost of 1 metric ton of food waste is £2,800 ($4,582).

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Unilever, AB InBev and Nestlé are among the 45 UK retailers, manufacturers and brands that committed to reducing food and drink waste by 1.1 million metric tons by 2015 in the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment, launched earlier this year.

Additionally, WRAP’s Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, has set a goal to decrease food and packaging waste by 5 percent by the end of 2015 against a 2012 baseline, measured by CO 2 e, and to increase the general rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) or composted to at least 70 percent by the end of 2015.