The UK’s food service and hospitality sectors are uniting this September as they tackle food waste during Stand Up for Food month. Part of the Guardians of Grub campaign, Stand Up for Food is being fronted by resource efficiency agency WRAP.
The month-long campaign will see commercial kitchens working together to tackle the 1m tonnes of food waste that arises from commercial kitchens, worth nearly £3b per annum. The campaign is supported by the Government’s Food Surplus and Waste champion Ben Elliot and chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Skye Gyngell, Adam Handling, Ken Hom, Melissa Hemsley, Anna Jones and Thomasina Miers.
During September, some of the UK’s catering companies will be encouraged to make sure they target, measure and act on food waste. From kitchen staff to management, everyone is being asked to minimise food wastage in their own operations.
Companies on board include school catering company Bidfood and contract caterer Compass Group, facilities management service provider OCS, and Unilever Food Solutions. Sector bodies and influencers include the British Water, the British Standards Institution Group (BSI), the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, LACA, TUCO, Westminster Kingsway College and Winnow.
“It’s truly time to Stand Up For Food – food need not be wasted,” says Ben Elliot, champion of Food Surplus and Waste. “This brilliant month of action, led by WRAP, empowers every food business, ensuring that food waste is taken off the menu. To the gallant Guardians, I recommend the brilliant resources provided by WRAP, created to help tackle this very important issue.”
“We’re really proud to be supporting Guardians of Grub and the #StandUpForFood month,” says Julie Owst, head of sustainability and change at Bidfood. “Food waste is a huge, yet hidden, problem. Not only is it a waste of precious resources, it’s a huge, silent contributor to greenhouse gases. To get the industry and consumers talking about it, and realising that every step of the supply chain, from farm to fork, has its part to play would be fantastic. Getting the subject on the table is, first and foremost, the most important step. So, let’s start all thinking creatively about how we can reduce this problem!”
“As the UK’s largest food service provider we not only have a responsibility, but an opportunity to make a real difference in the fight against food waste, which is why we’re excited to be supporting this campaign as part of our ongoing work to reduce food waste which is core to our sustainability strategy,” says Celena Fernandez, head of environment at Compass Group UK and Ireland. “Stand Up for Food Month presents a great opportunity to put food waste at the forefront of the hospitality agenda for September, and we hope this will encourage those in the industry to consider food waste in their everyday processes moving forward.”
“Food waste usually goes unnoticed in relation to climate change, but the reality is that we won’t stop temperatures rising if we fail to address the problems within the food system,” adds Peter Maddox, director of WRAP. “We see no place for food waste on any UK menu, and I’m confident Stand Up for Food will be a great success, and an important moment in the war on food waste. This is the largest, most inclusive campaign we’ve ever undertaken with the hospitality and food service sector and key has been recruiting the Guardians to make this happen in their own businesses and arming those people with the right resources to help. And while we focus attention on one industry in September, it’s a moment too when we can all think about how we all contribute to food waste, and what we can do to limit that – it’s food for thought.”
During Stand Up for Food month, kitchens and staff can use a range of free resources produced by WRAP that share best practice on reducing food waste. These include guidance and resources to help measure and review food thrown away. The priority for September is food waste measuring, after which it will be easy for businesses to pinpoint where and why food waste occurs in their operations and work out how to stop good food ending up in the bin. At its heart, the campaign is about helping businesses make simple, low-cost changes to how food is procured, prepared and presented that reduce the amount needlessly thrown away.