Hospitality businesses, restaurants and food service businesses are being urged to join the battle to help prevent food waste after new research revealed that levels of food wastage is soaring amongst consumers again, having improved briefly during the months of lockdown. During the height of the pandemic, consumers were displaying more positive food management behaviours, prompted in part because of fears around food shortages and availability. As we find ourselves moving out of that pandemic culture and as more and more people are going back to work again, many have been ditching more resourceful activities such as batch cooking, freezing food etc. due to new day to day time pressures.
For the hospitality sector, the issues surrounding food wastage is no new revelation. In fact, food wastage has been a problem for the sector in general for many years, worsening again over recent times. This hasn’t been helped by many restaurants and hotels having to shut up shop during the lockdown at short notice and in some cases having little choice but to dispose of un-used food supplies that were unsalvageable. Many will have had to throw out more supplies ahead of reopening too. The reopening of the hospitality sector itself has also proven to be another trigger to growing levels of food wastage. More people are eating out or getting takeaways at the moment, which means the food they might have purchased for weekday meals, are instead being wasted.
Although busy lifestyles and consumer love for eating out isn’t something new, the culture surrounding food waste continues to be a growing problem. Of course, wastage isn’t just down to consumers, businesses operating in this sector have an important role to play too, in the quest to reduce wastage. It is vital that best practice is followed by food manufacturers and suppliers, that food is correctly labelled regarding shelf life, storage and freezing advice. Likewise for their supply chain, hospitality businesses need to ensure that they manage their own stocks and inventory efficiently, so they avoid over-ordering.
eProcurement systems like ours are also a great tool to reduce wastage because stock management is automated and there is no guess work involved which means precise stock control and stock consumption right down to the individual item level. Technology can also help with more accurate menu and recipe planning allowing you to plan portions more easily – not only reducing waste but saving money in the process. Over-ordering on stock usually happens when teams are stretched, and stock is managed manually or via complex spreadsheets which rely on human intervention to update them. This approach is not only time consuming, but unreliable too.