26th March 2024

Food waste is a huge problem: we waste about a third of the food we produce. This not only costs businesses money but it also has a significant environmental impact. Food production requires land to be cleared of nature and biodiversity.

According to WRAP, 1kg of food waste is equivalent to throwing away over 3kg of CO2e. In total, food production and consumption are responsible for around 30% of global carbon emissions. As well as carbon, methane emissions are a problem too – not just from cattle but also from decaying leftover food stuffs that we send to landfill.

Every year, food waste costs the hospitality and food service industry £3.2 billion. Use WRAP’s handy cost saving calculator and input your estimated cover numbers to see how much money and carbon equivalent can be saved.

Guardians of Grub - WRAP's food waste reduction campaign - uses the example of potatoes to demonstrate just how much produce is thrown away before it even reaches hotels.

There are three steps to food waste reduction:

  • Measure
  • Commit
  • Act



If you serve food regularly as part of your business, WRAP’s Guardians of Grub campaign suggests you measure your waste each week over four weeks, by using four weighable containers labelled as: preparation, spoilage, plate waste and ‘other’. Simply weigh each of your containers at the end of each service and record wastage on a 7 Day Tracking Sheet. You can then input your daily data to WRAP’s Food Tracking Calculator excel spreadsheet. It will automatically calculate how much the food waste is costing your business and where the waste is coming from, as well as the associated CO2e emissions. If you prefer an app then use Unilever Food Solutions Wise Up On Waste online tool.



Commit to reducing food waste in your business and set a reduction target. It helps if you have one member of staff who is appointed as ‘food waste champion’. They can use this actionable checklist to help them get started. Your business might also like to sign up to the Guardians of Grub pledge and download the free resources to help you.



Tips for reducing your food waste:

    • Smart, local ordering – try to purchase only what you need. By buying local produce more regularly but in smaller quantities, you’ll get fresh local, seasonal produce that will last for longer.
    • Plan menus seasonally – so as to make the most of seasonal, local produce.
    • Smaller portions - be more aware of portion sizes, avoid overly large servings and actively offer customers half size portions. Consider selling sides as options rather than automatically adding them to every meal.
    • Avoid buffets – they can result in a great deal of uneaten food waste.
    • Store food carefully in labelled, airtight containers and freeze fruit before it begins to turn. It can be used in coulis or smoothies. Regularly check fridge and freezer temperatures as well as the door seals.
    • ‘Doggy bags’ - be clear with guests that they can take leftovers home with them if they wish.
    • Fridge clear outs - encourage guests staying in self-catering properties to take food home with them rather than throwing it away at the end of their holiday.
    • Creative cooking - keep hold of leftovers and get creative in the kitchen, using different cooking methods that make the most of the ingredients e.g. off-cuts for stocks and soups.
    • Too Good to Go app - consider signing up to the Too Good to Go App which will allow you to make a profit from surplus food. It is good marketing for your business, wins back sunk costs and helps the planet too.
    • Compost - if you are set up to have your own compost area then this can be a great way to get rid of peelings and other food waste.
    • Food waste collections – contact your waste management company or check your district or borough council for food waste collections.

Further information

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) - Helping restaurants become more sustainable since 2010. Their ten-point sustainable framework - Food Made Good - built around the three pillars of Sourcing, Society and Environment provides an excellent roadmap for restaurants to reach their sustainability goals and become a business built for the future. 
  • WRAP’s Guardians of Grub campaign:
    • Includes a Cost Savings Skills Course which will give your staff important information about reducing food waste, in just fifteen minutes.
    • It includes a range of useful resources such as posters for kitchens and staff, bin labels, tracking sheets and calculators, stock control sheet, reduction action plan template, menu planning guide and much more.
  • Love Food, Hate Waste
  • Unilever Food Solutions - Wise Up On Waste online tool
  • Too Good to Go

Read more tips and information on how to become a more sustainable business in our Impacts Resources Hub.

If you’d like to showcase your business's impact on sustainability in Hertfordshire, sign up as one of our Impact Heroes.

If you have taken action to be more sustainable in your business, we’d love to hear more. Please get in touch with  enquiries@visitherts.co.uk