Compass turns to behaviour change to reduce food waste

Contract caterer Compass UK & Ireland has teamed up with food management firm Winnow and social charity Hubbub for a new behaviour change campaign to find out what makes diners at corporate restaurants waste less food.

With data from Winnow revealing that customer waste accounts for up to 5% of all food purchased in corporate restaurants, the trio are measuring which behaviour change approaches are best at reducing this ‘plate waste’ – and how they can encourage employees to make lasting changes in their dining habits.

The behaviour change initiative has been developed to mark Stop Food Waste Day – a day dedicated to tackling the issue of surplus food, which cost the hospitality and foodservice sector an estimated £3bn in 2016.

“We are proud to lead the way in tackling food waste,” Compass’s managing director Chris Garside said. “Our commitment to reducing food waste is a key priority for us and the Stop Food Waste Day spreads an important message both within our organisation, at client sites and amongst the general public.”

The campaign is initially using four trial locations; at The University of Sussex in Brighton, at two “high-profile” firms in Canary Wharf, and at an as-yet-unnamed distribution centre.

Three specific approaches – namely “nudging” diners, offering them a reward, and changing the social norm surrounding food waste – will be trialled after research by the three organisations showed that messages which “felt preachy or guilt-inducing” were not effective at tackling plate waste.

The aim is for the most effective elements of these trials to be rolled out to corporate restaurants across the UK and Ireland.

With more than 60,000 workers, Compass is the UK’s largest foodservice company and works on the likes of sports events, military bases, schools and care homes across 15,000 locations in the UK. Last January, the caterer pledged to reduce its food waste by 10% by 2020 as part of the company’s commitment to become a “truly sustainable business”.

Sarah George

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie