Nearly three-quarters (74%) of supply chain heads and those in food procurement are not yet tracking the amount of food their organisation wastes, warns Sodexo, which has launched its ‘Appetite for Action’ campaign.
The catering and facilities management business commissioned a new study examining food buying trends amongst organisations in the UK, and warned that the food service sector will not achieve carbon net zero goals without “urgently turning their attention to the issue of food waste”.
Its research found that while the connection between activities such as air travel and carbon emissions was well understood, food waste has “yet to sufficiently cut through”.
Sodexo, which has pledged to cut its own food waste by 50% by 2025, found that only 26% of food procurement professionals prioritise food waste in achieving carbon reduction goals.
This is despite WRAP’s data which suggests total food waste in the UK amounts to 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Nonetheless, the majority (93%) of respondents said they are considering changing their organisation’s procurement criteria to reduce food waste in the next 12 months, with almost the same amount saying they will be tracking food waste by 2025 (94%).
According to Sodexo, the study showed that organisations are looking for outside assistance to help them achieve necessary cuts in food waste, with almost two-thirds (64%) suggesting direction from the government “needs to be made clearer through stronger policy and regulation”.
Meanwhile, 62% said government advice on how to use technology would be “helpful” whilst 63% also believe carbon labelling on meals would “instigate behavioural change”.
Sean Haley, chairman at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “Food waste is a problem long before consumers scrape leftovers off their plate. There is currently wastage at every stage of the food system from farm to fork – this requires urgent intervention.
“We feel strongly that every organisation that procures food at volume should commit to, and crucially action, a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030 at the latest in line with the UN’s SDGs – although our own target is five years earlier than that.”
He added: “The first step towards cutting food waste is tracking and monitoring it – we are seeing significant results from this approach. While tackling food waste alone is not the silver bullet, it is a key component of our net zero ambition, enabling us to live up to our broader purpose of continuing to support and improve the communities in which we live, work and serve.”