The importance of managing food waste is at an all-time high, according to a report by food charity Wrap. Food waste is any food that has been not been consumed by people due to it being spoiled or unnecessarily discarded.

The report found that the hospitality sector alone is wasting a massive 920,000 tonnes of food a year, ¾ of which could have been eaten. This figure continues to rise. Currently it amounts to 18% of all food purchased in the sector going to waste, which is equivalent to 1 in 6 meals being thrown away. This carries substantial costs, both in restaurant overheads and on the environment.

What are the costs?

The UK hospitality industry currently spends an astonishing £2.4 billion a year on food waste, with restaurants bearing the highest costs at £682 million.

How much money would be thrown away if a 180 litre wheelie bin is filled with food waste every week? With each one costing around £200, multiply this by 52 weeks and it comes to nearly £10,500 a year!

Arguably, the highest cost of all is the impact food waste has on the environment. Research indicates that food waste is responsible for 20% of the UK’s C02eq emissions, as 54% of all food waste is being sent to landfills, rather than being recycled.

What can be done?

Much of the tonnes of food waste each year, aside from production waste, is being generated on the customer plate. By making adjustments to working practices and adopting smarter planning there is significant opportunity to make cost savings for business. Here are a few simple tips to cut down on wastage in your establishment:

  • Smart production planning: small batch production is one effective way minimise food waste, as only the required portion of food needs to be defrosted for use.
  • Store products properly: all products should be stored in standard food boxes or food packaging wrap where appropriate. This will prevent cross contamination. Hot items must be properly cooled before being refrigerated, to prevent the growth of bacteria and to maintain the internal temperature of the fridge for other items.
  • Keep everything labelled and organised: in preventing food spoilage, organisation is key. Clearly label all orders with the date it arrived and when it must be used by. Be sure to arrange them by the First In, First Out storage method, placing new items behind older items so the oldest stock is used first.
  • Staff engagement: setting targets for food waste reduction is a proactive way in identifying ways to cut down. Ask front-of-house staff to pay extra attention to what dishes are consistently left half eaten, it may be necessary to reduce the portion size.
  • Train your team: good food safety practises go hand in hand with reduction of food waste. Effective food safety training will educate food handlers on the best methods to safely prepare and store your food to prevent spoilage and protect your customers.

Food Alert provides training both online and in the classroom for Food Safety, from basic learning (level 1 and 2) to more complete lessons for managers and supervisors (level 3 and 4).

We also provide a Waste Management classroom course, for learners to understand the impact of food waste on budgets and the environment and learn how to reduce food waste in their workplace. This course is provided at our award-winning Training Centre in Central London and it can also be organized as an in-house course at your own premises (subject to number of attendees). For more information, please visit or email

Food Waste Infographic

To find out more, visit the homepage or call us on 020 7244 1900.

The information contained in this article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official food safety, health & safety nor fire safety advice.

Food Alert take no responsibility if the information in the article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Food Alert services please do call our team on 020 7244 1900 or email




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