With increasing costs facing both customers and businesses it is crucial that the amount of food that goes to waste is reduced. As well as reducing the amount of waste there is an additional benefit through reducing the amount of stock that is purchased, which also helps the wider climate agenda by possibly reducing deliveries.
Food waste continues to be a major global problem and a significant financial burden on the food industry, costing UK food businesses and hospitality around £2.5 billion annually. According to a report from Earth.org in 2023, about one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted, with a value of around £750 billion, which is enough to feed three billion people. Food waste occurs at every stage of the food supply chain, from production to processing, retail, storage, preparation and consumption.
Food waste and food loss refer to any food that is wasted, lost, or uneaten. Poor stock management, economic behaviour, or neglect are the main reasons for food waste. The production of wasted food globally uses enough water to meet the needs of nine million people. Food waste is a significant contributor to climate change and an expensive issue for businesses, impacting their bottom lime.
Here are some steps that businesses can take to address the issue:
- manage your food inventory and be aware of foods that carry use-by dates
- plan the menu to use up the food in stock and avoid over-purchasing or stockpiling
- organise dry stores, fridges and freezers to make food visible and accessible
- review portion sizes to avoid leftovers or offer customer a choice
- be mindful of the amount of food that ends up in the bin during food preparation
Businesses can also recycle food waste such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, fruit, vegetables, bread, flowers, coffee grounds and tea bags.
Further advice on food waste is available from the Food Standards Agency website (external link) and the Food Waste Reduction and Prevention (WRAP) website (external link).
Visit our business waste page for more information about waste disposal.