Restaurants looking for help to cut food waste

Irish restaurants throw away €125m worth of food every year and as a sector is looking for assistance to reduce this cost, according to a report.

Unilever has launched a global insight report into the hospitality sector in an attempt to increase awareness and help restaurants and similar businesses reduce food waste.

The report has revealed that 83% of Irish consumers were concerned about the amount of food being thrown away every day, and 71% of Irish restaurants say they would welcome a food audit of their businesses.

Food waste regulation, implemented two years ago in Ireland, is making a real difference to the awareness of food waste in the industry but there is still much to be done according to Unilever Food Solution Ireland’s Mark McCarthy speaking at Resource Ireland.

The legislation made it mandatory for all Irish businesses that prepare food on the premises, to segregate food waste.

Unilever has worked in tandem with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to produce a toolkit to help businesses reduce their food waste.

The aide includes the description of a daily 15-minute manual system for restaurants to monitor where they are producing the most food waste. It also includes posters to put up around business premises to educate and train staff.

The report found that most food waste – 65% of the total across the industry – comes from food left on customers’ plates and the second largest culprit was waste generated in preparation of food.

Portion control, said McCarthy, was a major problem in the fight against food waste: “it’s a habitual part of Irish nature. If we don’t get a big plate of food, we think we’re not getting full value for money – it’s all about perception.”

He said it was crucial that the industry adopted policies like the introduction of smaller plates in order to combat this waste.

Live from Resource Ireland in Dublin


Conor McGlone

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