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Audit reveals scope to cut restaurant food waste

A survey on restaurant food waste has found that an average UK restaurant produces nearly half a kilo of food waste per diner.

Carried out by the Sustainable Restaurant Association in July and August across its 10 member restaurants in the UK, results showed that:

  • 65% of food waste comes from preparation such as peelings and offcuts;
  • 30% of food waste comes back from customers’ plates; and
  • 5% of food waste is caused by out-of-date food.

With help from LRS Consulting the SRA found that an average restaurant could save between £150 and £1,700 on waste collection costs each year by reducing their food waste by 20%, which would also equate to an annual four tonne waste saving.

A spokesperson for the SRA said: “When restaurants consider that they’re effectively paying twice for the food they serve – once for purchasing it and again when paying to have it taken a way for waste – reducing food waste becomes a no brainer for helping the planet and profits.”

The research was carried out by introducing three different waste food bins into the restaurant’s kitchens. They were each labelled plate waste, prep waste and spoilage, with restaurant staff showed where to dispose of the waste.

Head chef of Petrichor at The Cavendish Nitin Padwal said: “After the food waste audit, my sous chef was surprised that so much prep waste went into the bin. The majority of it was orange skin and potato peelings. Now we have decided to use up the potato peelings still with good potato bits on and doing skin-on chips for the staff canteen and orange marmalade for our breakfast in Petrichor so we will have less prep waste in the kitchen.”

To help reduce food waste the SRA recommends restaurants plan menus and order produce carefully, not oversize portions and for customers not to over order.

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