A conference on the theme of sustainable success heard how 75% of food waste is avoidable.
It was organised by The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) to promote awareness of environmental wastage issues affecting the catering industry.
TUCO chair Matthew White said: “What a thrilling and inspiring event this was. This was an opportunity to meet people running companies which have set out to put planet before profit yet have still delivered commercially.”
Hugh Jones the programme area manager for Food Waste Prevention in Wales (WRAP) said his organisation believes the UK’s food and hospitality industry throws away over one million tonnes of waste, 75% of which is avoidable.
The sustainability manager at hot beverage company Bewley’s, Louise Whitaker, urged delegates to examine the relationship between coffee cups and waste plastic. She claimed that despite ‘throwaway living’ becoming unpopular 40% of plastics still go to landfill sites. She cited university studies that found adding taxes on plastic cups and banning them completely helped drive demand for reusable cups.
The co-founder of Flawsome Drink Maciek Kacprzyk said her company’s research found 3.7 billion apples go to waste every year because of their appearance. She asked people to ‘save the rejected and the planet too’. Tony’s Chocolonely UK country manager Ben Greensmith discussed child slavery in the cocoa industry, he believes an estimated 30,000 children are separated from their families to be trafficked as slaves. The company has created its own slave-free supply chain by taking a series of steps that includes tracing all their ingredients, paying farmers higher prices and encouraging them to adopt modern practices.
Randy Rampersad, founder of The Green Vic runs an ethical pub by taking a zero to landfill approach using ethical suppliers and employing staff from vulnerable backgrounds.
This was the fourth year of the TUCO Winter Conference. TUCO is the professional membership body for caterers working in the further and higher education sector.