The Guardians of Grub campaign was launched at a UK government symposium to tackle £3 billion of food thrown away by foodservice outlets
UK charity Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has launched a new campaign aimed at tackling the nearly £3 billion worth of food wasted every year across the British foodservice and hospitality sector. As 75% of that wasted food could have been eaten, the campaign aims to help operators across the foodservice and hospitality chain to make “simple, low-cost changes to the way food is bought, prepared and served” in order to significantly reduce wastage.
The new ‘Guardians of Grub’ campaign was developed by WRAP as part of its ongoing mission to reduce food waste “from farm to fork”. The campaign was unveiled on Monday 13 May in London at a special symposium organised by the government’s food surplus and waste champion, Ben Elliot. The event was attended by Michael Gove, secretary of state for the environment and a host of well-known British restaurateurs and chefs and senior business executives.
According to WRAP, the campaign is aimed at all foodservice operators: “Everyone from Michelin star restaurants to local pubs and wherever food is served to order.”
The campaign, said Elliott, “brilliantly shines a light on the food waste epidemic. Initiatives like this provide a strong foundation for change. Less conversation, more action. It’s time to stand tall and work towards a waste-less future.”
Informing best practice
As part of the initiative, WRAP will send UK operators a host of free-of-charge materials, including information posters, how-to guides and a free calculator to record how food waste is measured. These “behavioural change strategies” have been designed to inform best practices that can easily be incorporated into any business, by any operator –from kitchen porter to business owner.
The campaign will also see a Stand up for Food “month of action” take place in September 2019. Many of the UK’s largest hospitality and foodservice representatives have pledged their support to the initiative, says WRAP, including the SRA (Sustainable Restaurant Association), UKHospitality, BBPA (British Beer and Pub Association) and the FWD (Federation of Wholesale Distributors).
According to WRAP, the foodservice and hospitality sector is responsible for 10% (one million tonnes) of the total 10.2 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year, with the cost of avoidable food waste “varying between £0.38 and £1 for every meal it serves”.
The business case for reducing food waste is significant. Previous research by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WRAP across 700 companies operating in 17 countries found a high return on investment for activities implemented to reduce food waste. The average business saving, across multiple sectors, was shown to be more than £14 for every £1 invested by a business into reducing food loss and waste.
“We will not tackle the impact of global warming if we don’t fix the food system, and everyone needs to play their part,”said Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP. “If everyone in the hospitality and foodservice industry put as much passion into reducing waste as they do into creating delicious food, it would make a massive difference to cutting the damage food waste is doing to our planet. Through this great new campaign, we are showing how everyone can reduce food waste without compromising on quality, or customer experience, and save money. It’s a double win; for the environment and for business.”