You know what they say...a penny saved is a penny earned. Champions 12.3 released a deep dive study showing that restaurants save $7 for every $1 invested in reducing food waste. Over three years, organizations have found a 600% positive return on their investment. What's not to love about that!
The study in cooperation with WRAP and WRI showed significant cost savings can be made with changes that stem from measurement data. The savings primarily came from buying less food--which reduces purchase costs, increasing revenue from new menu items developed from leftovers or foods previously considered “scraps,” and lower waste management costs.
"Every part of the food industry has a responsibility to reduce food waste," said Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco and Chair of Champions 12.3. “These findings make it crystal clear that reducing food waste isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart business move.”
So the same reasoning outlined in the restaurant study transfers to the event industry.
It does't have to be complicated, but you have to start! Let's go!
As we see, the dollars and cents add up to a logical business case to invest in reducing food waste. The impact on the world is clear. Changing the way we approach events makes sense. So the heart of the change is changing hearts rather than changing minds. This is the long-term challenge. In doing this however, you want to make informed choices that can spread to our stakeholders without being preachy and staying true to your brand.
In summary, a plan to reduce food waste can result in significant financial savings. It can also motivate staff and impress clients. It is both good news for environment and your bottom line.
Step 1: Understand the Food Recovery Hierarchy!
We have to start somewhere, so let's start with understanding where excess food goes.
The EPA has created a Food Recovery Hierarchy which prioritizes actions organizations can take to prevent and divert wasted food. The following strategies show the best sustainable management to reduce waste and the associated impacts over the entire life cycle of food:
1. Source Reduction
2. Feed Hungry People
3. Feed Animals
4. Industrial Uses
The top levels are where we want to be as they are the best ways to create the most benefits for the environment, society and the economy. The goal is the prevent food waste in the first place. That's where the creative minds in the Event Industry need to focus first: how to prevent wasted food through source reduction?
We'll talk about each of these, but for now, let's start with creative ways we can reduce food waste by how we manage our events.
We want to be at the top. Not at the bottom!