What are hospitality suppliers doing to tackle waste across the industry?

A key element of the National Chef of the Year competition is reducing waste to provide a more sustainable future for all. It’s an issue that is important to chefs, front of house, management and consumers as we’ve become much more mindful as a nation of this hot topic and the impact of being wasteful on future generations. We’ve been chatting to some of our National Chef of the Year partners and sponsors to learn more about the work they are doing to reduce waste.

Mash

Since 2017, Mash has been supporting The Felix Project, a truly thought-provoking and inspiring local charity, that collects good quality surplus food from suppliers and redistributes to charities and schools so that those most vulnerable get a healthy meal or snack. Mash is the biggest fresh produce supplier to The Felix Project and in 2018 their donations equated to an estimated 143,752 meals! Any unconsumable food waste, mostly peelings from Mash prepared produce, is sent for the process of Anaerobic Digestion to produce Biogas (electricity) and fertiliser.

Hannah Turner, head of marketing at Mash said: “We love recycling and even have a dedicated on-site recycling centre for all internal waste. The team are proud to say that we are recycling 100% of all waste streams. We are currently reviewing all alternatives to see where we can further reduce packaging or move to alternatives such as biodegradable packing.”

Continental Chef Supplies (CCS)

CCS has teamed up with a few suppliers to help showcase ranges that will help the hospitality industry cut down on waste and become more sustainable. The recycled plastic bottle chef wear range from Chaud Devant has been produced from recycled bottles that have been collected from the sea. This collection helps to clear our coast lines from waste, it gives single use plastic another usage and it is also a collection that the hospitality industry can wear with pride knowing they are supporting  a greener planet. Check out the Chaud Devant recycled plastic bottle chef wear range.

Chloe Rodgers, CCS Marketing Manager said : “In the year of 2019, we are increasingly exposed to what our habits as a population are having on our environment, from shocking news stories to protests all over the world, we all need to stand up and be accountable for our actions and the hospitality industry is no exception to this. It is so important for this industry to find ways to be more sustainable, to reduce waste and to help protect the environment for the future of tomorrow. The hospitality industry is somewhat subjected to scrutiny because of the range of waste it produces and the vast amount of quantities this can be. If we can put products and plans into action to help tackle these issues, we can then help to preserve our plant and to modernise this industry for a greater good.”

You can find out more about the work that CCS has been doing to make sure plastic waste is put to good  use in their blog which shows how they are supporting sustainability within the hospitality industry.  

Sousvide Tools

The development chefs at Sousvide Tools very rarely have any waste food items as they are constantly trying to think how they can utilise vegetable, meat and fruit trimmings to make something a little unusual. It is a big passion of theirs and they are proud to share a range of recipes with chefs across the UK. They also have equipment, like the dehydrator, which gives chefs a great way of helping preserve products that are past their best to give a much longer shelf life. 

The use of sous-vide enables chefs to extract pure flavours from their waste trimming i.e. mushroom peeling to create a clean mushroom stock which they then cryoconcentrate to add extra layers of flavour.

Unox

Surprisingly, one of the easiest and most obvious ways Unox has found to help control food wastage is by encouraging chefs to use multi-timers, stored programmes and cook using a core probe. Put simply, this ensures consistency of cooking, quality of the end-product and, in most cases improved yields. During the heat of the moment, and a manic service, things often get forgotten resulting in spoiled overcooked ingredients or worse still, burnt food.

The Unox award-winning Evereo precision cooker enables food to be held at a safe, accurate temperature without compromising the organoleptic qualities for extended periods of time. The team has demonstrated that items can be successfully held overnight and sold the following day or service. This has dramatically reduced wastage with numerous clients since installing the unit. One customer in particular was wasting in excess of 2,100 eggs per week (30%) due to poor control measures and lack of consistency. Unox has enabled them to reduce this to 8% and in addition, cut labour costs by 20%.

Duncan Parsonage, business development chef at Unox added: “Food prices are rising and are due to rise further when we finally leave the EU. Reducing the amount of food waste going to landfill is the obvious way of protecting the environment for future generations. Most foods can either be composted or anaerobically digested using modern technologies. Removing waste food from restaurants and hotels comes at a cost too, something it would be best to avoid where possible. All businesses have a corporate social responsibility to cut wastage, it’s simply not acceptable or ethical if it could be donated to charities or food banks.”

Lockhart Catering Equipment

The team at Lockhart Catering has been helping to reduce waste by heavily promoting its new reusable cups instead of single-use options. An article in The Independent last year revealed that in the UK, we use 7 million disposable coffee cups every day - that's 2.5 billion every year. Less than 1 per cent of coffee cups are recycled and in fact, half a million are wasted every day. One of the biggest issues with paper cups is that for them to hold liquid, the inside paper is bonded with plastic polyethylene. Once the cup is contaminated with the hot drink, it becomes even harder to recycle.

Who is responsible for reducing food waste?

Chris Holland, chef director at Sousvide Tools told us: “A total of 3,415,000 tonnes of waste is disposed of in the food sector every year, of which 1,473,000 tonnes are sent for disposal. 600,000 tonnes (41%) of the waste from pubs, restaurants, hotels and quick service restaurants is food waste. It makes us question whether the industry need to change the way we educate chefs and really concentrate on making them use up waste trimmings better. Anybody who comes into contact with food and ingredients is responsible for helping to reduce food waste across the world. Everyone is responsible and has a part to play but without wholesale changes to the liberal way the industry produces waste we will never tackle the issue.”

Duncan Parsonage at Unox said: “We are all responsible! Mostly due to short-dated items, best before and ‘generic’ use by labelling, coupled with lack of knowledge. Also, customer perception is that all produce should be uniformly shaped and coloured, fortunately this ideology is slowly beginning to change. Most restaurant and hotel operators have such strict costs and tight margins and are already mindful of food waste so are doing their best to combat it.”

Chloe from CCS shared her thoughts on who was most responsible commenting: “Technically we all are, and we must all take responsibility for our own environmental footprint, whether that’s within our personal or work life. When discussing food waste automaticity, the hospitality industry does come into the conversation due to the nature of the business, this is a food related industry and waste can be a common dominator within it. As this has been a hot topic within the hospitality industry for a few years it’s clear to see there has been a significant change to how business and establishments eliminate their food and general waste. This mentality is what we need to make a difference and to create a sustainable future within our hospitality industry.” 

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