According to WRAP, a charity working to achieve a circular economy, food wastage across the UK equates to an estimated loss of >£20bn, with a huge contribution of waste coming from the restaurant industry. If we don’t start putting measures in place, the knock-on effect this will have on our environment will be catastrophic.
A challenge everyone faces is that when you’re dealing with incredibly fresh produce you have a very small window to get the best out of it. Our team at EatFirst works extremely hard to ensure that every single ingredient that comes through the door never goes to waste.
There are now plenty of products and organisations which can help you make a small difference with minimal effort. However, there are also a few very simple changes you can make in the kitchen that, if we all strive for, will have a big positive knock-on effect in the future.
Below I’ve listed some of the things that we do at EatFirst that might work for your company as well.
We work hard to ensure that every ingredient which comes into the kitchen ends up in our meals one way or another. Some of the best examples in our kitchen are using beef trim to mix with our chuck steak to make delicious mincemeat and using any leftover vegetables to make a stock that can provide a fantastic base for many of our dishes.
We only use suppliers who share our values for reducing its carbon footprint. Our fruit and veg supplier, Reynolds, supplies fruits and vegetables to all of the leading restaurants around London. They were one of the founding members of the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement on waste reduction and have saved 24,000 tonnes of food from being thrown away, with a value of £67m. Reynolds also prides itself on having sent zero waste to landfill since 2014.
In addition to this, condiment company, Rubies in the Rubble, take fruit and veg that appears to have gone a bit pear-shaped and transforms them into delicious sauces and chutneys. When Rubies in the Rubble CEO, Jenny Dawson, read that 1/3 of fruit and vegetables never reach our plates because they don’t look pretty enough, she decided to take action. The company has now grown from a little stall in Borough Market to working with huge companies like Virgin Trains. Jenny collects approx 1,300 of their ‘no good’ apples each week and turns them into chutneys, which are then sold back to Virgin.
Food waste charities
We manage our meal waste through platforms like Too Good to Go and Karma. Their ethos is simple, eat well, save money and save the planet. They look to place the lost value from food waste back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away. They’ve partnered with over 5,000 stores to fight food waste and now over 2.5 million meals have been rescued, which is the equivalent to avoiding three million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the same as the energy required to power 324 homes for an entire year.
By Benn Hodges, head chef at online gourmet kitchen, EatFirst