Compelling reasons to reduce global hotel food waste
New research on behalf of Champions 12.3, in Washington USA, finds there is a compelling business case for hotels to reduce the amount of food they throw away. For every $1 hotels invested in programmes to reduce kitchen food waste, on average they saved $7 in operating costs.
In a first-of-its kind analysis for the industry, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Hotels evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 42 sites – including Sofitel, MGM and more – across 15 countries, finding that nearly every site realised a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste. Within just one year, the hotels had reduced food waste from their kitchens by 21 percent on average, and over 70 percent had recouped their investment. Within two years, 95 percent had recouped their investment.
The types of investments hotels made include: measuring and monitoring the amount of food wasted, training staff on new food handling and storage procedures, and redesigning menus. Nearly 90 percent of sites were able to keep their total investment below $20,000, which was less than 1 percent of sales on average. This shows that the cost of change was low and the benefits were high for all businesses assessed.
The 7:1 return on investment comes from buying less food and thereby reducing purchase costs, increasing revenue from new menu items developed from leftovers or foods previously considered “scraps,” and lower waste management costs.
“We need to take action right across the food chain if we’re going to halve food waste by 2030. That means reducing food waste in homes, farms, retail, distribution, and in the hospitality sector,” said Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco and Chair of Champions 12.3. “This report clearly shows that reducing waste in hotels isn’t just the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense. So even if the moral imperative doesn’t move us, the business case for reducing food waste should persuade every CEO.”
“With these figures, I hope more in the industry will see food waste reduction as an opportunity and an important part of the hotel business,” said Lionel Formento, Director of Food and Beverage, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. “Our customers increasingly care about the environment, and that shift shows no signs of slowing down. Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit has prioritized reducing food waste as an important part of our sustainability efforts. From engaging management to our chefs and suppliers, implementing a food waste reduction program has helped us stay innovative and a leader.”
One-third of all food produced in the world is never eaten, which has tremendous economic, social and environmental consequences. Food loss and waste is responsible for $940 billion in economic losses and 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. At the same time, some 800 million people do not have enough food to eat. For more details look to the next print edition of Hospitality Business – May edition!