The EPA released a research report last week – “Reducing Commercial Food Waste in Ireland”along with a number of Fact Sheets and an updated “Less Food Waste – More Profit”
The key figure for the Hotel Sector is the analysis that hotels throw away c. €180 million worth of edible food annually. This works out at c. €200,000 per hotel in Ireland. Hotels with large functions discard a much higher quantity than the average.
This research, carried out in 2018/19, confirms the statistics that the Green Hospitality Programme (GHP) has been presenting to the hotel sector for the past 5 years and, whilst some of the KPI’s are different, the scale of the challenge is absolutely clear.
There are no clear practical recommendations from the report other than the updated Less Food Waste – More Profit publication and a clear recognition that….. ”In general, although many food service businesses are aware that food waste is an issue, there is little sectoral dialogue about the topic”
GHP would agree with this statement – Minimisation of Food Waste is not a topic within the sector – in fact, it is a topic that is generally ignored as it involves a modal shift in the relationship between Hotel Management and Kitchen Management. If hotels want to improve their bottom line, and stop wasting good food, then a proper realisation and engagement within their operations is required to reduce this level of waste.
It is true to note that if any hotel manager identified waste in any other part of the hotel, of this scale - €200,000 per annum, heads would roll. When the benefits of a Food Waste Minimisation programme are calculated at 7:1 (For every €1 spent the hotel will receive a return of €7) it is a wonder that a much more focused approach is not adopted by the sector.
Who will provide leadership in this environmental and financial waste area?