The Rotten Truth
Love Food Hate Waste has launched its 2023 Food Waste Action Week campaign to tackle food waste domestically. Most surprisingly, their website states, “36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be prevented by saving food from our bins in UK homes”.
Here’s a shocker. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates food wastage contributes to 8-10% of man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That’s an unfathomable quantity of pollution that’ll take every one of us to reduce.
Time For Action
We need a revolution in every kitchen to ensure that we solve the issue of avoidable food waste – once and for all. So, whilst we encourage you to adopt less wasteful home cooking habits, the catering and hospitality industry needs to innovate.
To mark Food Waste Action Week, we asked the Fooditude Team to share their expertise and experiences surrounding food waste at work and home. We also encouraged them to celebrate the work of others in the Fooditude Team, along with a side request for food waste recipes!
This article is a mish-mash of content about topics covering food waste. But each entry to this blog has unique ideas, opinions and insights. One of the main takeaways of creating this content is how each person in our team contributes to fighting food waste in their own way.
A Week In Review | James, Content Manager
One of my job’s perks is seeing what’s happening across the business. For Food Waste Action Week, there’s been phenomenal activity across the company. Here are some of the highlights:
Wednesday 8th March:
We adapted our regular menu to incorporate often-discarded parts of ingredients. The photo above is one I took of the mouth-watering whole broccoli & watercress risotto with crispy shallots dish, beautifully prepped by Chef Samantha and Chef Marcus at one of our client sites.
Thursday, 9th March:
We ran a zero-waste small plates pop-up at a client site. Here our chefs successfully transformed produce destined for the bin into gourmet dishes. Some of the saved food waste we used included smoked salmon off-cuts, watermelon rinds and herb stalks for salsa verde. The idea is to inspire diners to reconsider how they see ingredients at home – and waste less!
Saturday 11th March:
We baked fresh brownies, but not any old brownies, ours were made with spent coffee grounds and passed them on to Southwark Food Action Alliance for Southwark Climate Day.
Shout out | Anouk, Sustainability Manager
“What I find particularly interesting about food waste is how it is mostly an issue of perspective and creativity. Going through the recipes for Food Waste Action Week, it’s clear that our staff have found value in resources that would have been considered waste. The expression “beauty being in the eye of the beholder” felt more appropriate than ever.”
Recipes | Roman, Assistant Development Chef and Matt, Director of Food
We’d be remiss if we didn’t share our Food Waste Action Week recipes for you to try at home. By doing so, we hope you get inspired to get creative with saving food waste at home.
So, ready to try your hand at cooking something a little different?
Zero Waste Piccalilli
Chef Roman created this recipe by only using cut-offs and leftover ingredients from the kitchen. We served the piccalilli with honey-roasted ham for our (anti) food waste menu.
Walnut and Coffee Grind Brownies
We baked enough brownies to feed everyone attending Southwark Climate Day. Here’s the oh-so-tempting recipe that we used.
Psst. If you’re a keen foodie and want to try more food waste recipes, check out Matt’s grind rub for steaks.
A Fresh Perspective | Roman, Assistant Development Chef
‘Being sustainable’ and ‘eco-friendly’ are often used as trendy slogans. So how do we make a real change? Not just talk about it.
If an issue doesn’t directly affect you that much, it is easy to stay in your comfort zone and walk about life unaware of what’s happening. However, when you see the bigger picture – even making a small change can have a ripple effect. Once your eyes are open, there are many ways to implement zero waste and cook sustainably.
As a chef, I create recipes and cook delicious food. It’s easy to make langoustines, Wagyu beef and white truffles taste delicious. On the other hand, dishes that incorporate food waste are more of a challenge – it can be difficult to get as enthused by it (at first). The Food Waste Action Week menu and pop-up have been fantastic projects to make delicious food from usually wasted ingredients.
Cooking to zero or low food waste is difficult in professional kitchens or at home. However, I have found it pays to explore ways of using whole ingredients in your dishes so nothing gets thrown away.
One tip I’d like to share is to keep the trimmings of fruit, veg and meats and set yourself the goal of making something tasty (and different) from it.
The real goal in the modern world is zero food waste. We can learn how to make something different and tasty with the produce we tend to throw away. We need to be kinder to the world we live in!
Industry Insight | Anouk, Sustainability Manager
“In my opinion strong partnerships create action on sustainability, whether using Angry Monk (our surplus veg suppliers) to incorporate surplus produce into Fooditude’s menus or working internally with chefs to avoid waste in food production. Luckily, in my experience, collaboration is a real strength at Fooditude.”
Shout out | Alison, Head of Operations
“I want to give a shout-out to Aleks, Operations Manager, and his team. Together they’ve compiled a series of best practice documents to reduce food waste at client sites.
These resources have been critical in helping our catering managers and clients refine their portion control. Not only that, but they’ve also established better communication about wastage amongst stakeholders. In addition, we have discovered that raising awareness about what’s been wasted has promoted action across our client sites.
In particular, Nadine, Catering Manager, has been incredibly effective at reducing meal numbers at her client site with the help of Alek’s documents.”
Home Cooking Inspo | Elitsa, Recruitment & Onboarding Coordinator
“At home, we reduce waste by trying to plan our meals as much as we can when we do our weekly shopping (obviously does not always work). I also love to buy bunches of fresh parsley, dill, chives etc, I chop them and freeze them- tastes 100s times better than the dry ones you would normally buy. Also, before we go on holiday if we have any leftover veg, we just freeze them and use them up on the day we get back as there’s nothing in the fridge!”
Industry Insight | Kristine, Service Manager
Responding to our client’s request, I liaised with OLIO to increase the number of food pick-ups collected from the client’s workplace canteen. OLIO is an app where people and organisations can share unwanted food and items within their local community.
Previously we only shared food from the lunch service with OLIO, but now we’ve expanded to sharing remaining food from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m happy to assist our clients in actioning their sustainability initiatives. This extra food will be available to people within London, who might be struggling with their bills – and I think this is very important during the cost of living crisis.
So where to next?
Problems as big as food waste require creative and collaborative solutions. One of the most striking responses from the Fooditude Team was from Chef Roman, who said, “If an issue doesn’t directly affect you that much, it is easy to stay in your comfort zone and walk about life unaware of what’s happening”.
In other words, it’s time we all acknowledge food waste’s devastating effect on the planet and supply chains. If food waste is left unchecked, communities will ultimately face the consequences.
Food Waste Action Week and Love Food Hate Waste’s ‘WIN, DON’T BIN!’ campaign encourages people to reconsider how they perceive food and adopt food-saving habits. One heartwarming observation from our team’s responses is how seriously they perceive the threats of food waste.
We have pledged to reduce food waste by 50% by 2025 under WRAP’s UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. It won’t be easy; everyone in our company must work together to reach that goal. But with the same attitude shown throughout Food Waste Action Week – we will hit that target.