The Business Case Behind Food Waste Reduction

The Business Case Behind Food Waste Reduction

This article featured in the 2nd LIFE FOSTER Newsletter. Click here to read the full copy.

Food waste has become one of the hottest topics in Europe. Many are left stunned when they learn that globally we are throwing away 30% of the food we produce. The figures in Europe are slightly lower (around 20%), but still represent a major challenge.

The negative impacts of food waste are well documented. Food waste represents around 8% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG), having a clear impact on the world’s climate. There is also the ethical concern of throwing away all that food, while 800 million people in the world remain undernourished.

However, there is another concern for those running a restaurant; food waste can have a real impact on their bottom-line. Naturally, food is a resource that costs money. In the EU, it is estimated that food waste is leading to annual costs up to €143 million, with roughly 12% of all food waste stemming from the food service sector.

Increasing profitability is always in the back of any business’ mind. One way of doing so is by increasing sales. Alternatively, a business can invest in inward looking measures and improve the efficiency of their operations. This may come at a cost, but it can be lower than expected.

A recent study by 12.3 Champions, a leading coalition comprising governments, businesses and experts on food waste, found that from surveyed restaurants which incorporated food waste reduction programmes into their operations, 76% of them recovered their investment within one year. The number rose to an impressive 89% by the second year.

Measures can range from simple behavioural changes through training in how ingredients are bought and stored, to comprehensive redesigns of menus and recipes. Through the LIFE FOSTER project, we are working with established chefs in order to improve the sustainability of their kitchens and reduce food waste, generating environmental, economic and social benefits.

For more information on LIFE FOSTER, contact MBB Sustainable Development Executive Gabriel Cassar on gcassar@mbb.org.mt or +356 21251719. 

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