Restaurants could secure a sevenfold saving if they invest in reducing food waste.
The finding has come in research for Champions 12.3, which brings together governments, businesses, research institutions and others to promote the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve per capita global food waste.
Its report The Business Case for Restaurants to Reduce Food Waste used data from 114 restaurants across 12 countries.
It showed that within one year they reduced food waste by 26% on average, and more than 75% had recouped their investment.
The 7:1 return on investment came from cutting purchase costs by buying less food, increasing revenue from new menu items developed from foods previously considered scraps and lower waste management costs.
Investments made included monitoring food waste, staff training and menu redesign.
Tesco group chief executive Dave Lewis, who chairs Champions 12.3, said: “The only way we can halve food waste by 2030 is if restaurants and other businesses along the supply chain step up their action.
“Every part of the food industry has a responsibility to cut food waste. These findings make it crystal clear that reducing food waste is not just the right thing to do – it’s also the smart business move.”
Champions 12.3 said, that across the world, one-third of all food produced is never eaten. Food loss and waste is responsible for $940bn in economic losses and generates 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually, while some 800 million people lacked sufficient food.