How can we reduce food waste in catering?
restaurant management

How can we reduce food waste in catering?

Food wastage in collective catering today represents between 150 and 200 grams of food thrown away per meal and per person. This amount multiplied by the number of meals and people represents about 20 tons of discarded goods each year. An astronomical quantity that obviously has an economic but also ecological impact, as it is so much product that is cultivated unnecessarily.

In order to reduce this consequent waste, several solutions and methods are possible.

Anti-waste solutions and methods in the catering industry

Tip 1 - Identifying losses

The first step is to identify food losses in your community. To do this, you need to be able to identify which foods are wasted the most and in what quantities. Once these foods have been detected you can review your recipes. Replace the most discarded products by substitute foods with equivalent nutritional intakes. It is important to favour seasonal products, you will obtain a much better taste and a reduced environmental impact.

Tip #2 - Reduce portions

Once you have identified the foods that are wasted the most you need to quantify these losses and adjust the portions served. If the plates regularly come back to the kitchen still full, you can think about reducing the portions served. Or propose plates with different contents in order to adapt to the different needs of the consumers.  

Tip 3 - Introduce staff to food waste in the catering industry

The kitchen and service staff are at the forefront, so we must succeed in making them aware of the subject. To do this, several solutions should be considered, such as posters to regularly remind them of the importance of anti-waste. Training courses to raise awareness and understanding of the issues involved in the fight against food waste. Or solutions in the form of games or anti-waste "competitions" to make this concept more fun.

Tip #4 - Ask the consumers' opinion

Take into account the opinions of the people who eat lunch in your establishment. They are the main people involved, so it is very important to understand their expectations and desires in order to create menus that will satisfy their taste buds.

By involving them in the creation of the menus you will reduce waste not only because the proposed dishes will be more appropriate but also because they will feel listened to and taken into consideration.

To start you can for example define the menu for a day of the week in the form of a survey with a choice of multiple dishes. Propose two or three dishes at most in order to have usable data. If the concept proves to be paying you can renew the operation.

Tip 5 - Compost your waste

Composting is a recycling method that consists of forming fertilizer from organic and mineral matter such as raw fruits and vegetables. This solution is very environmentally friendly because it does not require any other product. All you need to do is to define an interior space where to install a compost bin or an exterior space. Then nothing could be simpler, the principle is to throw organic waste into the compost bin and let nature do the work.

Tip 6 - Put figures on food waste in the catering industry

To raise awareness among your teams and consumers, nothing is more effective than confronting them with the problem. To do this, put food waste in plain sight, in the form of a transparent bin or a scale. The sight of such a quantity of food spoiled or a figured weight allows will no longer sensitize effectively.

Tip #7- Give the surplus

If you have an excess of uneaten food, i.e. you have prepared more food than you need, you can give it to organizations. The first solution is to give it to local associations. This is a mutually beneficial action, as it allows you to avoid throwing food away unnecessarily and the food banks will be very grateful for this gesture.

Other platforms or applications allow you to resell or give away unsold items each day in the form of a meal basket to be collected on site. This method not only reduces waste but also minimizes the cost of wasted food.

The Anti-Food Waste Act

Obligations are in place regarding food wastage. The government has set a target of halving food waste in the catering industry by 2025 compared to 2015. This reduction is to be achieved through several channels: production, processing and distribution.

In order to achieve this goal, laws have been put in place. Sellers or resellers with a turnover of more than 50 million euros per year must comply with obligations of non-destruction of unsold goods. This means that the wholesalers concerned are obliged to make donations. This is in the case of unsold goods and they are not allowed to destroy them or throw them away if they are still consumable.

In the event of destruction of unsold goods or failure to comply with this law, sellers are liable to a fine of up to 0.1% of the annual turnover of the last closed financial year. The amount is proportional to the seriousness of the act, i.e. the volume of unsold items destroyed.

Applicable laws

In addition, the MDD (Date of Minimum Durability), which appears on the products in the following manner "best before", may be followed by a sentence stating that the product may be consumed after this date.

The law also provides for the optimisation of stock management in order to limit food waste in collective catering. This translates into a digitalization of stocks. Grouping together the CSD (Use-by date), the MDD (Minimum durability date) and the batch number. These different elements must be present in the barcode of each product in order to guarantee its traceability.

Finally, the decree aimed at creating a national "anti-food waste" label was adopted on 24 December 2020. In order to strengthen and enhance the various anti-waste initiatives.

The purpose of this system is to help the consumer in his choices. But also to highlight and reward the companies involved in this approach.

Koust is a solution that accompanies you in the identification of your losses and allows you to reduce them.

But also to guarantee the food traceability of your products thanks to the printing of DLC labels, batch numbers, health control plan, temperature and oil records...

You now have all the cards in hand to reduce food waste in the food service industry.

Do not hesitate to contact us for any questions or to test our solution free of charge for 15 days.  


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Koust allows you to optimize the profitability of your establishment.
The idea is simple: better control over quantities and costs by having more control over procurement and production.

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