Did you know… Food waste is responsible for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions globally?
Food waste is one of the biggest problems facing our planet today.
As well as having a lot to answer for when it comes to climate change, food waste also costs the global economy no less than $1 trillion every year. And, far from improving, the problem is predicted to get worse by 2030 – to the tune of another half a trillion dollars annually.
Are you interested in making a real difference? You’re in luck!
Keep scrolling to find out more about:
- Global food waste: the numbers.
- What is commercial food waste?
- How much does commercial food waste cost?
- 7 steps to reduce commercial food waste.
- Fighting food waste in your organisation.
If you believe there’s scope for your organisation to do more, both for your bottom line and the planet, then you’ve come to the right place.
Global food waste: the numbers
- One-third of food produced globally goes in the bin.
- An area larger than China is used to grow food that never gets eaten.
- An estimated 1 billion people globally go hungry – and every single one of them could be fed on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK, and Europe.
You probably don’t need us to tell you just how serious this issue is. That’s why there are so many people at home trying to make a change.
But the reality is that this isn’t something that consumers can be expected to tackle by themselves. Especially when commercial food waste is such a significant part of the problem.
What is commercial food waste?
Commercial food waste is any food that is discarded or wasted by businesses in the food industry, such as food processing facilities and supermarkets. This can include food that is expired, spoiled, or otherwise unsuitable for consumption, and excess food that is discarded due to overproduction.
And, as well as being a drain on the planet’s vital resources, it’s also a drain on organisations’ finances.
The cost of commercial food waste
Of course, the costs associated with food waste will vary from country to country.
In the UK, for example, the commercial and industrial sector accounts for approximately 3.4 million tonnes of food waste a year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). This costs the sector an estimated £3 billion each year.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the cost of both household and commercial food waste is estimated to be about €143 billion annually. The commercial sector accounts for around 14% of this food waste.
7 steps to reduce commercial food waste
To stem the flow of financial loss due to food waste, follow these seven steps:
1. Conduct a food waste audit
To start with, you’ll need to identify where and how much food is being wasted in your processing operations.
Only by thoroughly auditing your current processes can you develop targeted solutions to reduce food waste. This will include tracking both the types and quantities of food wasted, as well as the reasons for waste. For best results, consider appointing a food waste champion to lead the charge.
Ideally, you will begin to conduct comprehensive food waste audits on an annual or similar basis to track your organisation’s progress over time.
2. Optimise production processes
Using the data you collect, you can work at optimising your production processes to reduce waste. This might include, for example, using technology to reduce overproduction or implementing standardised production methods.
Again, the better the data from your audit, the more targeted (and effective!) your approach will be.
3. Implement inventory management
An inventory management system will ensure that you always have the correct supplies and right quantities of ingredients on hand. This will be particularly important if you notice high volumes of waste due to spoilage or expiration.
4. Consider donating excess food
Where possible, donate any excess food – but only if it is safe for consumption.
Not only will this help to minimise your organisation’s food waste and, by extension, its carbon footprint. It will also help those who face food insecurity, including the rising numbers of food bank users in the UK.
5. Monitor and measure food waste
Supplement your audits by consistently monitoring your food waste. Real-time monitoring technology will be a big help here, as will tracking inventory levels.
Use this data to adjust production processes and reduce waste over time.
6. Use food waste for new products
It’s a time of great innovation in food and drinks. So, consider using innovation as a driving force for tackling food waste, by exploring options for using waste for new products.
This could include using fruit and vegetable scraps to make juices or sauces, or packaging ‘wonky’ products to sell separately and at a cheaper price point.
7. Educate employees
Education and shared values are key if you want to effect real, lasting change.
So, if you want to ensure the success of your initiatives, you’ll need to educate employees on the importance of reducing food waste at all stages of the product life cycle. Implementing training on proper waste reduction techniques and inventory management could also go a long way here.
Fighting food waste in your organisation
Cutting commercial food waste in your business isn’t going to be easy. Ultimately, if it was a quick fix, the issue wouldn’t have reached this point of major global concern.
However, progress is sure to be much slower without specialists on your teams.
More and more companies are seeking food and drinks industry experts with specialist sustainability experience.
We are experts at sourcing industry-leading talent that will align with your company’s values and push it towards its long-term goals. Are you aiming to enhance your approach to sustainability?
Get in touch today!
Call us: 0333 772 7200