How much food do restaurants waste?

Sadly, food waste in restaurants is just as common as it is in the home.

Recently, it’s been super important to figure out exactly how big the problem is, so we can really understand the environmental impact of food waste.

To help with this, many restaurants are now sharing documents with the public, like their sustainability reports.

This is incredible - it’s a huge positive step towards finding effective solutions.

Through these reports, we know there are two main types of food waste in restaurants - the food wasted before it reaches the consumer (spoiled produce, kitchen scraps, etc.), and the food wasted afterwards (leftovers, for example).

There are lots of reasons why so much is thrown away - like, buying too much produce, or poor storage practices. Even the leftovers created from cooking big portions to cater for their customers.

In fact, on average, a restaurant creates around 100,000lb of trash each year. Unfortunately, this mostly just ends up in landfill, and the food waste costs the industry around $25 billion per year.

In America, 0.5lb of food waste is created with every meal that’s served in a restaurant, and 85% of the produce that isn’t used is just thrown out - shockingly, this is while 26 million people in the country don’t have enough to eat.

Ethically and environmentally, it’s so important to find food waste solutions for restaurants - it can also cut their costs by between 2% and 6% as well.

Obviously, because of how restaurants work, it would be impossible for us to expect every bit of produce to be fully used. But, it’s totally reasonable to expect them to maximise food use.

There are so many ways of doing this, from composting scraps to donating leftovers, discounting items and correctly storing their produce.

Some may also create policies that will share the responsibility with their customers, so they’re not left to bear the burden alone.